Rethinking the impact of land certification on tenure security, land disputes, land management, and agricultural production: Insights from South Wello, Ethiopia

B.T. Tessema*, J.A. Zevenbergen, M. Lengoiboni, Belay Simane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Land is a precious resource in the Ethiopian highlands, where the entire agricultural system depends on rain-fed system. The resource faces multiple interconnected environmental and socioeconomic challenges. Among these, the absence of tenure security has significantly affected farmers’ willingness to adopt soil and water conservation practices (SWCPs), leading to a decline in land productivity, hindering household food security, and contributing to an increase in land-related disputes. Bearing this in mind, the government of Ethiopia (GoE) has undertaken two rounds of land certification programs in selected regions, one of which was Amhara National Regional State (ANRS). This study examined how land certification strengthens tenure security, lowers land-related disputes, motivates farmers to employ SWCPs, and raises the productivity of farm plots in Dessie Zuria and Kutaber Woredas. The research followed an exploratory survey method which utilized both qualitative and quantitative data. The survey involved purposefully selected 401 household heads. Additionally, cross sectional data were collected from various sources, including Woreda and zonal agriculture, court, land, and Natural Resource Management (NRM) offices. Quantitative data were analyzed using frequency tables, percentages, graphs, figures, cross-tabulation, and descriptive statistical methods. Meanwhile, qualitative data were transcribed, grouped, and interpreted in line with the research’s objectives. SPSS software version 26 was used for data analysis. The findings denoted a positive relationship between land certification and tenure security. Furthermore, enhanced tenure security has played a positive role in reducing land-related disputes, initiating farmers to invest in SWC practices and improving the productivity of farm plots. The research suggests the adoption of a cadastral land registration system, the encouragement of community involvement, and the enforcement of laws and bylaws. The research recommend implementation of cadastral land registration system, promote community participation, and enforcement of laws and bylaws. The work has implications for development practitioners, academia and policymakers working on land tenure, SWC practices, and food security.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1713
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


  • Certification
  • Tenure security
  • Dispute
  • Land management
  • Agriculture
  • South Wello
  • Ethiopia


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