Gender and Land Rights Database

Ethiopia

Prevailing systems of land tenure

All land is vested in the State according to Article 40 of the Constitution of 1995. Citizens have use rights and inheritance of use rights is permitted, but land-use rights may not be mortgaged (9).

According to the Rural Land Administration Proclamation, peasants have the right to use rural land for agricultural purposes, to lease it and, while the right remains in effect, to bequeath it to family members. Property can be acquired, by labour or capital, as well as sold or exchanged (14).

Current land tenure systems do not differ greatly from the land tenure system during the Derg regime from 1974–1991 regarding land allocation. Land is still allocated on the basis of the number of household members; other factors, such as quality of land, size of family workforce and ownership of farm assets, which have a substantial influence on the ability to use land, are not given as much weight as family size.

Farm size in all sample households ranges from zero-landless to 10 ha, although the latter are very few in number and usually are found in the less densely populated regions of Somali and Afar. Despite the distributive nature of current land tenure systems, established with the 1998 land reform, the mean size of farm holdings is about 1.02 ha per household (14).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography