Do Land Disputes Affect Smallholder Agricultural Productivity? Evidence from Kenya

Milu Muyanga, Raphael Gitau


Rural households experience land disputes with relatives or neighbors. These conflicts, even if small-scale in nature, may have considerable impact on incentive to invest on land productivity enhancing inputs. This study investigates the impacts of land disputes on households’ incentive to invest in farmyard manure and inorganic fertilizers, and on crop productivity in Kenya. A truncated normal hurdle model is applied on farm plot level data. The results show that land conflicts affect smallholder farmers’ optimization behaviour. Farmers are indisposed to apply farmyard manure or to plant perennial crops on disputed plots. When other production inputs are controlled for, active land disputes reduce agricultural productivity through other avenues such as constrained crop choice and reduced crop care by about 13 percent. In view of these results and in the context of the ever shrinking farm sizes, the efficiency of land disputes resolution systems emerge very important policy issue.

Keywords: Land disputes, chemical fertilizers, organic fertilizers, agriculture, Kenya

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