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November 2006

Announcement of a publication

Implementing homestead plot programmes

Experience from India

Livelihood Support Programme Working Paper Number 23

This paper represents part of an area of work which examines ways in which the poor can use small amounts of land to establish homegardens to support their livelihoods. When land is scarce, access to even small plots can benefit families by improving nutrition, providing a source for additional household income, and enhancing the status of women. This paper builds on the LSP Working Paper 11: “Small homegarden plots and sustainable livelihoods for the poor”; and LSP Working Paper 12: “Land and Livelihoods: Making land rights real for India’s rural poor”.

Land reform to broaden rural land access is still desperately needed in India. An estimated 17 million rural households are still completely landless and another 42 million households own less than 0.5 acre. The problems, however, will not be solved by relying solely on traditional land reform tools aiming to provide multiple acres for each land-poor household. Such goals are ideal, but often not feasible in the current political and fiscal environment. The central and state governments need to expand the number and type of tools in the land reform toolkit and prioritize improving land access for the most needy – those who have no land. Providing homestead plots to landless households serves both objectives.

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