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Ad hoc support : EFEMER

Short documentary film: Gender, access to land and land policies in Madagascar.

Documentary Land Access Gender Policies Madagascar
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Based on the case of Madagascar, the film reviews the main findings and debates on access to land in Africa. It places the question of gender at the heart of the film, particularly the role of women in the management and appropriation of agricultural land.
The literature indicates that in Africa, despite strong regional disparities, women’s access to land is generally less favourable than that of men (Doss et al. 2015, Chigbu 2019). Although women are important land users, the areas they control are often smaller, and their land rights may be less extensive, less secure and subordinate to men’s authority. Until the 2000s, land policies rarely took into account exclusionary effects, and paid even less attention to gender issues (Razavi, 2007). Agricultural land titling policies have sometimes undermined women’s rights (Lastarria-Cornhiel, 1997).
More recent land policies - mainly policies to formalise rights - have included measures to include women, by issuing certificates in their own names and/or in the names of spouses (Abbott et al., 2018; Melesse et al., 2018). Between unfulfilled implementation, ignorance and circumvention of these measures, the effects in terms of securing women’s rights are mixed and controversial (Abbott et al., 2018; Holden et al., 2011; Bezabih and Holden, 2006; Muchomba, 2017).
In Madagascar, we will address these issues from three perspectives. First, in the context of the current land reform, women can theoretically obtain land certificates in their own names and/or in the names of spouses, yet land remains predominantly certified in the names of men (Burnod et al., 2014). Moreover, national law defends equal inheritance between children, regardless of their gender, but in practice, customary practices and rules favour sons to inherit land (Di Roberto 2020). Finally, while markets are now active in many parts of the country (Burnod et al., 2014; Rakotomalala et al., 2019; Di Roberto, 2020), the question arises of the conditions for women’s participation in these markets.
In summary, the project addresses the links between women and land through several lines of questioning. What role do women play in Malagasy farms and land management? Can women effectively access agricultural land (via purchase and/or inheritance) and secure their land rights? What role does the land reform underway since 2005 actually play in this regard?


The general objective of this documentary is to disseminate and popularise the diversity of land tenure situations for women, the issues they face and the possible solutions deployed at different scales. The design of the documentary will be based on the results of research carried out since the early 2000s by numerous doctoral students, researchers and experts in France and Madagascar, and which for the moment have only been the subject of academic work (Teyssier et al. 2009; Boué 2013; Burnod et al. 2014; Burnod and Andriamanalina 2017; Boué and Colin 2018; Rakotomalala et al. 2019; Di Roberto and Bouquet 2019; Di Roberto 2020; Defrise 2020, etc.)

In particular, the film will address the place of women and their decision-making power in the management of agricultural land. It will make primary use of filmed testimonies with male and female farmers, but also with key people involved in the land sector (traditional and legal authorities, administration, operators, etc.). It will provide concrete and illustrative examples of the most important land issues from the point of view of the actors: access to agricultural land, changes in access in the event of divorce or widowhood, recognition of rights in the event of conflicts, etc. The film targets an audience of researchers, students or members of civil society who are non-specialists but who encounter issues related to rural land tenure in their work. It will remain widely accessible to the general public who wish to better understand the issues of women’s access to land for family farming. More broadly, this project seeks to develop, through the video medium, a scientific mediation tool to strengthen the debate between agricultural development actors (international NGOs, farmers’ associations, decision-makers, donors, citizens, researchers, etc.). Following the example of the documentary on access to land for young people produced in 2019[1], the documentary could be used as a support for courses and continuing education (farmers, local elected officials, civil servants, development project agents, etc.). [1] Documentary "Access to agricultural land in Madagascar" available on TouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICvHc7-M7tM&ab_channel=HadrienDr

Project Number : 2100-014

Year : 2021

Type of funding : SP

Project type : PC

Research units in the network : MOISA SENS

Start date :
01 Oct 2021

End date :
01 Nov 2022

Flagship project :

Project leader :
Perrine Burnot

Project leader's institution :

Project leader's RU :

Budget allocated :
6000 €

Total budget allocated ( including co-financing) :
6000 €

Funding :