Eliminating unholy nexus in rural land market
The infrequent investigate on 'rural land market in Bangladesh' has been conducted by the noted economist Professor Abul Barkat (Co-authors: Gazi Mohammad Suhrawardy, Asmar Osman, Aroni Barkat). This research based manuscript is a meaningful outcome of an exploratory study conducted on rural land markets of 3 upazilas of 3 districts of Bangladesh which is published by Manusher Jonno Foundation (January 2017).
This volume provides the evidences of rural land market, actors, factors and motivations of rural land sales market and rental market, price setting, holding in and out, rural land administration, market access and access barriers, interlinks of rural markets and financial policy, participation of marginalized and poor households in the rural land sales and rental market; policy gap for poor people in accessing rural land resources.
Authors elucidates how political economy of 'rural land dynamics' and dominant players function in the market. Also, focuses causes and consequences of imperfections prevailing in both land sales and rental market in rural Bangladesh. It is true that land is the father of all resources but still 22 per cent rural agri-dependent families are landless, 40 per cent landless having 50 decimal or less.
In general rural land market is also known as agricultural or non-agricultural market - coexistent with seed, water, livestock, wood, fertilizer, pesticide, crop and agri-appliance market. Writers refer rural land contains four aspects - sales, rental, grabbing and acquisition where sales market is not vibrant as the significant portion of rural people are under 'discrimination-poverty-disparity' trap. On the other hand, rental market is more active where 40% land is transacted in various arrangements.
Authors categorize the land holding implies - land buyer households are highest (9.4 per cent) among landless households, highest land purchase incidents are ensured by male-handed households (28.6 per cent) and lowest by the indigenous households (3.2 per cent).
Char households are more eager to sell land resources due to the natural calamities, river erosion and violence of opponents. Apart from that, researchers explain the sources of finance in case of land purchase - 51.9 per cent savings, 15 per cent earning from livestock animal selling and 12 per cent business. In case of land lease in - 39.8 per cent from sell of crop, 5 per cent donation of NGOs and 9.9 per cent savings.
Researchers explore one-fifth of the indigenous households (19.4 per cent) are absolute landless where three-fourth (74.2 per cent) of the households have less than 10 decimal land. 43 per cent Hindu minority are innocent victim of landlessness and enemy property act.
Land administration plays vital role in market in general record of land holding although marginal people sometimes are not access correct information as their lack of knowledge. At ground level, political affiliation, social relationship, economic conditions, cultural settings - have their due role in the land market through the interactive mechanisms of property rights, writers added.
Authors give details that natural shocks reduce the land supply. Inward and outward system influences people and culture, sustainable development, environmental control, tenure and legal framework and finally the economy and financial services. This field based research identifies women are less likely to own and control land due to social norms and inheritances laws. Specifically, ethnic minority and religious minority are also constrained to access to rural land market.
Finally, this root exploring study recommends how to ensure land governance at marginal level and reform these fundamental resources. Agrarian, land and aquarium reform are needed to ensure land rights justice. Litigation process should be fair and poor friendly. Land grabbers and land based rent-seeking should be blocked. Banks and financial institutions should redesign their schemes so that poor and marginal people access land resources and retain their present holdings. Corruption and inefficiency of land offices should be eliminated. As the land is inequality reducing resource soil testing is necessary for more agricultural production.
The reviewer is Environmental Analyst &
Associate Member of Bangladesh Economic Association