Governance of Tenure

Land consolidation

Many farms are fragmented into small parcels that can be some distance apart. Sometimes the fragmentation is beneficial as it reduces risks by giving farmers a greater variety of growing conditions. At other times, the fragmentation causes problems for farmers because parcels can be small and poorly shaped for agriculture.

In such cases, the Voluntary Guidelines advocate the use of land consolidation as a way for farmers in an area to collaborate in designing a new layout for their farms

Land consolidation is sometimes combined with land banks, where the state already owns agricultural land, or purchases it from private owners who are willing to sell under normal market conditions before the start of a land consolidation project. During the project, the land bank can then transfer its land parcels to participating farmers to allow them to enlarge their smallholdings.

Land consolidation and land banking can also be used in projects to protect the environment by facilitating the voluntary acquisition of private land for public projects. Land consolidation can be integrated with local agricultural and rural development projects such as the rehabilitation and construction of access roads, irrigation and other rural infrastructure.

The development of strategies, policies and laws

Albania and Lithuania developed and adopted national land consolidation strategies to guide the implementation of land consolidation in a way that fits with their requirements. Lithuania later revised the strategy to ensure its relevance to changing conditions. 

Serbia developed a draft national strategy for land consolidation. The draft strategy was then used to guide the preparation of a new land policy on land consolidation. 

In the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a review of the land consolidation legislation with respect to the Voluntary Guidelines was carried out, considering the experiences of two land consolidation pilot projects. Detailed recommendations were prepared for amendments to the legislation. 

The reforms in these countries were undertaken with technical and financial assistance from FAO. They were based on legal and organizational assessments, as well as on practical experiences of implementing land consolidation under the existing legislation, including through pilot projects. The current programme includes capacity development and is being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy and FAO with financial support from the European Union.

Workshops on land consolidation

Regional workshops on land consolidation and land banking have been carried out in the Europe and Central Asia region since 2002. These workshops have provided a forum for specialists from different countries to share their experiences and to form a network of land administration specialists and representatives of civil society and academia who are interested in land consolidation and rural development. Read more