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Assessing the Impacts of Expropriation and Compensation on Livelihood of Farmers: The Case of Peri-Urban Debre Markos, Ethiopia

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Abstract

In Ethiopia, expropriation and compensation measures have become a great concern due to horizontal urban expansion and development induced projects. Especially in peri-urban areas, the livelihood of farmers is affected by expropriation without fair and comparable compensation. This paper investigates the impacts of expropriation and compensation activities on livelihood of peri-urban smallholders taking Debre Markos Town as a case study area. Mixed research methods were employed. Quantitative data were gathered using a structured questionnaire and by interviewing about 100 smallholders. Qualitative data were collected in focus group discussions and by analyzing legal documents. The analysis showed a high trend of expropriation without fair and appropriate compensation as result of ignoring legal procedures of expropriation and compensation. Expropriated farmers also complained that they did not get any support from the government to use compensation money properly for further investments. Due to incomparable compensation and lack of advice, peri-urban farmers faced multi-faceted problems, such as food insecurity and social and family disintegration. The government has to enable families of expropriated households to earn suitable livelihood, which could be achieved by fair compensation and appropriate guidance.
land
Article
Assessing the Impacts of Expropriation and Compensation on
Livelihood of Farmers: The Case of Peri-Urban Debre
Markos, Ethiopia
Tilahun Dires 1, Derjew Fentie 2, Yeneneh Hunie 1, Worku Nega 1,* , Mulugeta Tenaw 1,
Sayeh Kassaw Agegnehu 1and Reinfried Mansberger 3


Citation: Dires, T.; Fentie, D.; Hunie,
Y.; Nega, W.; Tenaw, M.; Agegnehu,
S.K.; Mansberger, R. Assessing the
Impacts of Expropriation and
Compensation on Livelihood of
Farmers: The Case of Peri-Urban
Debre Markos, Ethiopia. Land 2021,
10, 614. https://doi.org/10.3390/
land10060614
Academic Editors: Ilaria Rodella and
Massimiliano Mazzanti
Received: 19 April 2021
Accepted: 30 May 2021
Published: 8 June 2021
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Attribution (CC BY) license (https://
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4.0/).
1Institute of Land Administration, Debre Markos University, Debre Markos 269, Ethiopia;
tilahun_dires@dmu.edu.et (T.D.); yeneneh_hunie@dmu.edu.et (Y.H.); mulugeta_tenaw@dmu.edu.et (M.T.);
sayeh_kassaw@dmu.edu.et (S.K.A.)
2College of Agriculture and Natural Resource, Debre Markos University, Debre Markos 269, Ethiopia;
derjaw_fentie@dmu.edu.et
3Institute of Geomatics, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, A-1190 Vienna, Austria;
mansberger@boku.ac.at
*Correspondence: worku_nega@dmu.edu.et
Abstract:
In Ethiopia, expropriation and compensation measures have become a great concern due
to horizontal urban expansion and development induced projects. Especially in peri-urban areas, the
livelihood of farmers is affected by expropriation without fair and comparable compensation. This
paper investigates the impacts of expropriation and compensation activities on livelihood of peri-
urban smallholders taking Debre Markos Town as a case study area. Mixed research methods were
employed. Quantitative data were gathered using a structured questionnaire and by interviewing
about 100 smallholders. Qualitative data were collected in focus group discussions and by analyzing
legal documents. The analysis showed a high trend of expropriation without fair and appropriate
compensation as result of ignoring legal procedures of expropriation and compensation. Expropriated
farmers also complained that they did not get any support from the government to use compensation
money properly for further investments. Due to incomparable compensation and lack of advice,
peri-urban farmers faced multi-faceted problems, such as food insecurity and social and family
disintegration. The government has to enable families of expropriated households to earn suitable
livelihood, which could be achieved by fair compensation and appropriate guidance.
Keywords: compensation; expropriation; peri-urban farmers; livelihood
1. Introduction
Nowadays, land is in short supply due to the increased number of construction
projects and the expansion of infrastructure. It becomes necessary to transfer a large
amount of land for required project/investment operations [
1
]. In an agrarian country like
Ethiopia, land is not only the primary source of income. It is also often used to accumulate
wealth and pass it down through generations [2].
The world is experiencing a rapid rate of urbanization, with the current particularly
rapid urban growth in developing countries [
3
]. Eastern Africa was the world’s least urban-
ized sub-region, but, currently, it is rapidly urbanizing [
4
]. Urbanization’s growing demand
for urban land is largely met by transforming rural land on the outskirts of existing built-up
areas [5]. Since the majority of people in developing countries live in highly concentrated
peripheral areas, relying on agriculture with fragmented landholdings, displacement due to
land expropriation is a more significant problem in developing countries than in developed
countries [6].
Expropriation is the compulsory taking of land by the government for public purposes
in advance payment of compensation [
7
]. It is a popular method of acquiring land for
Land 2021,10, 614. https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060614 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/land
Land 2021,10, 614 2 of 16
large-scale commercial farms in Africa, Asia and Latin America [
8
]. Between 1988 and 2008,
a minimum of 300 million people around the world lost their land because of expropria-
tion [
9
]. Many people around the world are losing their homes, livelihoods, health and
even their lives because of expropriation [911].
It is documented that land expropriation has been shown to hasten urbanization
and transform rural villages in developing countries [
12
]. In Ethiopia, urbanization and
urban construction are old traditions, but the government and developmental agents
have only recently adopted them as concepts [
3
]. In Ethiopia, rapid urbanization results
in land expropriations, which often come at the expense of farmland and forests [
13
].
Moreover, land expropriations will likely increase in the future, as Ethiopia could be a
rural-population-dominant country that needs more urbanization to achieve its policy
objectives [
5
] Ethiopia’s high rate of land transformation in peri-urban areas is expected to
continue [
14
]. Thus, expropriation is becoming a major concern in Ethiopia. It has an effect
on the livelihoods of different segments of the population in various areas [11].
Ethiopia’s urbanization program is neither participatory nor supportive of farmers in
the periphery, resulting in a negative impact on people’s livelihoods, especially those of
expropriated landholders [15].
Horizontal urban expansion and development in Ethiopia is a complicated process,
in which the vast majority of peri-urban farmers lose out while a few private investors
and dwellers profit [
15
]. Expropriation of land and the upcoming large-scale land transfer
to investors in Ethiopia have far-reaching negative consequences for rural communities’
livelihoods and the environment [
16
]. Development-induced displacement is becoming
a major concern in Ethiopia, with different levels of concern in different parts of the
region [
17
]. In most cases, municipalities in Ethiopia expropriate land to resolve issues such
as housing, urban infrastructure, investment, and so on. Some Ethiopian municipalities
engage in extensive land expropriation, well beyond what they need [6,1822].
Farmland is taken from peri-urban households for horizontal urban development and
infrastructure projects. Development projects in rural Kebeles (Kebele is Ethiopia’s lowest
administrative body, similar to a municipality), surrounding Debre Markos city, also result
in the displacement of many rural households from their farmland. At various times, laws
and policies, governing expropriation, reimbursement and rehabilitative mechanisms for
peri-urban farmers have been amended [
15
]. However, they did not solve properly the
problems of peri-urban landholders in Ethiopia, in general, - and in Debre Markos town
peri-urban areas in particular. Several studies [
6
,
18
21
] documented that many households
living on the outskirts of Addis Ababa and other major cities in the country were forced to
dispose their farmland. - The investigations of the studies looked into how urbanization
affected the environment and attempted to assess land rights. Despite the complexity
of the problem, there are a few studies in Ethiopia that have examined the practice of
land expropriation and compensation [
5
]. Therefore, the current study focuses on the
legality of expropriation and the impacts of livelihood strategies of expropriated peri-
urban landholders. The general objective of the current study was to assess the impacts of
expropriation and compensation on the livelihood of expropriated peri-urban farmers. The
specific objectives of the study are to assess the legality of expropriation and compensation
procedures, to examine the impacts of expropriation and compensation on the livelihood
of the expropriated farmers, and to evaluate the livelihood strategies employed by the
expropriated farmers.
To achieve these objectives, both quantitative and qualitative data were collected
from primary and secondary data sources. The main primary data was obtained from
interviews of 100 respondents. In addition, qualitative data were collected from focus
group discussion, legal documents and key informant interviews.
The paper will entice expropriated landholders to use the compensation wisely and
to look for proper livelihood strategies besides agriculture. It is also essential for land
administration officers to follow the procedures of expropriation in accordance with procla-
mations, regulations and directives of compensation. From a policy perspective, the article
Land 2021,10, 614 3 of 16
highlights the needs to follow up and evaluate the practical implementations of different
land related policies, proclamations, regulations and directives, and to give due attention to
the livelihood strategies, land tenure security and food security of peri-urban landholders
in formulating national policies.
Section 2identifies the principles of expropriation and the impacts of expropriation
on the livelihoods of expropriated landholders in a national and international context.
Section 3gives
evidence about data sources, the collection of quantitative and qualitative
methods and about the analysis of the acquired data. The results of the study are docu-
mented in Section 4and discussed in Section 5. Conclusions of findings, recommendations
and future research work on this topic are highlighted in the final chapter.
Expropriation in a National and International Context
Expropriation, also known as compulsory acquisition, eminent domain, compulsory
purchase or compulsory land acquisition in different legal systems and countries is charac-
terized as the government’s compulsory taking of private property for public purposes
without the property owner’s consent by giving an advance payment of fair compensation
to the property owners [2]. The process of urbanization is a worldwide phenomenon that
has been estimated since the beginning of the nineteenth century and is recorded in the
history of all urban centers [
23
]. Rapid urbanization and economic growth have resulted in
a high demand for land because of infrastructure and other different uses of constructions.
As a result, many rural lands have been expropriated for non-agriculture purposes [
24
].
Expropriation is permissible, if the development project benefits the entire community and
is therefore justified in the public interest. Under international law, expropriation is legal
as long as certain requirements are met by the state [
25
]. Expropriation of farmlands due to
urban sprawl is more common in developing countries, where agriculture employs a large
portion of the population [
26
]. It is the most common method of transferring land from
small-scale farmers to urban uses [8].
Compensation should cover the total social costs of relocation in order to rebuild a
foundation for the farmer to seek a sustainable livelihood [
27
]. However, a study [
28
]
found that many land-lost farmers are dissatisfied with local government compensa-
tion standards. Compensation and resettlement standards currently in place are insuf-
ficient to help displaced landowners and rebuild long-term sustainable livelihoods [
27
].
Following the compensation, there is no link between the government and the affected
peri-urban farming communities [
23
]. Thus, there is no monitoring of what the farmers
do with the compensation money. Many of them do not invest in value-added activi-
ties [
2
,
15
,
26
]. Many international studies documented unfair and inadequate monetary
compensation [8,15,16,24,26,29],
improper utilization of the compensation [
22
,
26
,
27
] and
lack of skill and knowledge about the alternative business strategies of the peri-urban farm-
ers are the main challenges elsewhere in the world. Furthermore, poor saving habits and
poor technique of survival strategies are also the main challenges of the affected peri-urban
farmers [15].
Expropriation and its effects have been the subject of several studies. Wang [
27
] report
on the process of expropriation in China and its effects with an emphasis on the economic
effect of having a rural hukou -y. According to Du [
30
], government expropriation has a
positive effect on firm diversification in China. Germaschewsk [
31
] studied property rights
and expropriation. According to this study, expropriation threatens social order, especially
secure property rights [
32
]. In addition, Nikuze et al. [
33
] reported the expropriated
landholder’s attitudinal changes in the context of land expropriation in China and land
expropriation in tourism development. The attitude and skills of farmers have also affected
the economic livelihood of peri-urban farmers and urban expansion. Peri-urban farmers’
attitude and skills are also only dependent on agriculture for their economic livelihood
and survival [
15
]. Expropriation is closely linked to human rights, which are enacted at the
constitutional level as the formal protection of private property [16,3436].
Land 2021,10, 614 4 of 16
Peri-urban farmers were expropriated from their homeland because of urban expan-
sion to the outskirts [
3
,
26
]. Expropriation has a negative impact on the land-lost farmers’
health through income and psychological effects [
28
,
37
]. Several studies [
2
,
27
,
28
] revealed
that expropriation has a detrimental impact on the health of expropriated landholders. In
addition, it has caused community and family tensions, as well as increased instability
among expropriated landholders’ families [
38
]. According to Guo et al. [
24
], expropria-
tion schemes have resulted in drastic changes in rural households’ livelihoods in China.
Expropriated farmers’ incomes declined because of land loss, and their long-term liveli-
hoods are jeopardized [
3
,
23
,
24
,
28
,
29
,
39
]. Apparently, the loss of farmlands has multiple
negative effects on the livelihoods of these farming households [
40
]. The study by Zhag
and Qian [
41
] also explores the impacts of farmland expropriation on rural households
in Vietnam. According to the report, the loss of farmland decreases farm production and
household income from agriculture. According to Lin et al. [
27
], expropriated landhold-
ers’ income decreases after land has been taken away because non-agricultural jobs are
difficult. Expropriated people may be profoundly impacted by the loss of their land on
a mental, cultural or spiritual level [
42
]. Expropriation of land sometimes results in the
loss of properties and livelihood of those affected expropriated landholders [
3
,
16
,
24
,
26
,
43
].
Furthermore, relative to urban residents, expropriated landholders in remote rural areas
have unequal access to public services and social security [
44
]. Farmers who have lost their
land are having a difficult time seeking jobs [45].
2. Research Methodology and Study Area
2.1. Description of the Study Area
Debre Markos is found in Amhara National Regional State at the distance of 300 km
North-West of the national capital Addis Ababa and 265 km southeast of Bahir Dar, the
capital of Amhara National Regional State (see Figure 1).
Land 2021, 10, x FOR PEER REVIEW 4 of 17
especially secure property rights [32]. In addition, Nikuze et al. [33] reported the expro-
priated landholder’s attitudinal changes in the context of land expropriation in China and
land expropriation in tourism development. The attitude and skills of farmers have also
affected the economic livelihood of peri-urban farmers and urban expansion. Peri-urban
farmers’ attitude and skills are also only dependent on agriculture for their economic live-
lihood and survival [15]. Expropriation is closely linked to human rights, which are en-
acted at the constitutional level as the formal protection of private property [16,3436].
Peri-urban farmers were expropriated from their homeland because of urban expan-
sion to the outskirts [3,26]. Expropriation has a negative impact on the land-lost farmers’
health through income and psychological effects [28,37]. Several studies [2,27,28] revealed
that expropriation has a detrimental impact on the health of expropriated landholders. In
addition, it has caused community and family tensions, as well as increased instability
among expropriated landholdersfamilies [38]. According to Guo et al. [24], expropriation
schemes have resulted in drastic changes in rural householdslivelihoods in China. Ex-
propriated farmersincomes declined because of land loss, and their long-term livelihoods
are jeopardized [3,23,24,28,29,39]. Apparently, the loss of farmlands has multiple negative
effects on the livelihoods of these farming households [40]. The study by Zhag and Qian
[41] also explores the impacts of farmland expropriation on rural households in Vietnam.
According to the report, the loss of farmland decreases farm production and household
income from agriculture. According to Lin et al. [27], expropriated landholdersincome
decreases after land has been taken away because non-agricultural jobs are difficult. Ex-
propriated people may be profoundly impacted by the loss of their land on a mental, cul-
tural or spiritual level [42]. Expropriation of land sometimes results in the loss of proper-
ties and livelihood of those affected expropriated landholders [3,16,24,26,43]. Further-
more, relative to urban residents, expropriated landholders in remote rural areas have
unequal access to public services and social security [44]. Farmers who have lost their land
are having a difficult time seeking jobs [45].
2. Research Methodology and Study Area
2.1. Description of the Study Area
Debre Markos is found in Amhara National Regional State at the distance of 300 km
North-West of the national capital Addis Ababa and 265 km southeast of Bahir Dar, the
capital of Amhara National Regional State (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. The study area.
Figure 1. The study area.
Debre Markos is situated 2400 m above sea level. The town has a 1380 mm average
annual rainfall and a minimum and maximum temperature of 15
C and 22
C. Debre
Markos town is one of the high land areas of the country. The town, which includes the
rural kebeles in its environs, is home to about 262, 497 inhabitants. According to the
municipality’s report, 97% of them are from the Amhara nation and the rest are from Agaw,
Oromo, Tigre and other nations/nationalities. Most of the town’s residents are Orthodox
Christians. The rests are Muslims and Protestants.
Land 2021,10, 614 5 of 16
2.2. Type, Source, and Methods of Data Collection
In this study, both quantitative and qualitative data were collected from primary and
secondary sources. The main primary data was obtained from respondents, including
information on the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the households.
Qualitative data were collected from focus group discussion, legal documents and key
informant interviews.
A standard structured questionnaire was used to collect data on sample respondents’
demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, assets, farm practices, and respondent’s
perception of the legality of expropriation and compensation procedures, impacts of expro-
priation and compensation on livelihood, the impacts of livelihood strategies employed
and activities performed using compensation money. The questionnaire was pretested and
amended accordingly before beginning data collection.
Face to face, interviews with eleven key informants (three senior property valuation
experts, two rural land administration committees, one property valuation team leader,
two land law experts, Debre Markos Town municipality office head, two Debre Markos
Town Investment office experts) were conducted.
The study undertook three Focus Group Discussions (FGD) with ten members from
selected expropriated farmers, elders, kebele administration leaders, real property valua-
tors, rural land administration committee members and development project agents. A
checklist was prepared to support the collection of qualitative data during the FGD. This
facilitated the assessment of detailed information and triangulating data from the house-
hold head survey. Secondary data were collected by reviewing published and unpublished
documents of different organizations/offices.
The employed mixed research approach is very helpful to get both quantitative and
qualitative data from respondents and informants at a glance. Mixing two approaches
potentially minimizes the drawbacks of using a single research method and helps to take
their complementarities. The quantitative approach generates quantifiable and numerical
data from respondents that can be analyzed numerically. This is done by taking a sample
from the study population and distributing questionnaires to the respondents. Therefore,
the findings of the study are representative of the whole study area.
For this research, the sequential explanatory strategy was employed during data
collection. A sequential explanatory strategy is a popular strategy for a mixed-methods
design that often appeals to researchers with strong quantitative leanings [
37
]. The re-
searchers collected quantitative data followed by qualitative data. The same sequence
were applied for the data analysis. Qualitative data are based on the results of the initial
quantitative analysis.
2.3. Sample Size Determination and Sampling Methods
The target groups of this study were peri-urban farmers, who lost land because of
horizontal urban expansion and development projects in Debre Markos peri-urban kebeles.
Heads of the households were the respondents representing the peri-urban farmers.
For the selection, in the first stage, the numbers of all farm households, who lost land
due to horizontal urban expansion and development projects were identified and listed.
Debre Markos city administration reported about 400 expropriated farmers—from 2014
to 2020. Since it is impossible to collect data from all expropriated household heads due
to time and cost constraints, the number of sample household heads to be chosen for the
questionnaire was determined by using the Finite Population formula [46].
For a confidence limit of 95%, a probability error of 5% and an estimated proportion
of the population, the sample size required for the study was calculated as 103. The sample
respondents were selected randomly out of the 400 expropriated smallholder farmers.
The Key informants’ interview and the FGD enabled us to get detailed information
by interviewing key informants and discussing with people relevant to the topic. Using
these two approaches also aided the researchers in triangulating and validating data from
questionnaire and to check the reliability of the findings.
Land 2021,10, 614 6 of 16
2.4. Methods of Data Analysis
Every questionnaire was coded, and researchers checked whether it was filled properly
or not. Due to the incompleteness of data from three household heads, 100 samples were
used for the final analysis. Descriptive statistics were employed to analyze quantitative data
by using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 25 version). Mean values, standard
deviations and percentages of the collected data were calculated for the final investigations.
3. Results
3.1. Size of Land before and after Expropriation
The survey result shows that the average size of landholding of the respondents has
been substantially reduced from 2.01 hectares to 0.52 hectares. With a standard deviation
of 0.938, the average size of expropriated land is found to be 1.48 hectares (Table 1). After
the expropriation, about 92% of the respondents have land less than one hectare.
Table 1. Average landholding before and after expropriation.
Amount of Land (in Hectares)
Mean Std. Deviation
Before Expropriation 2.01 1.066
Expropriated Land 1.48 0.938
After Expropriation 0.52 0.229
Source: Household survey, n= 100, 2020.
3.2. The Legality of Expropriation and Compensation Procedures
The findings of this research gave evidence that households were not pre-informed
about land expropriation and the opportunity of getting legal advice was unthinkable.
Households in the study area were also not invited for public discussion before expro-
priation, rather the municipality (in some cases the Gozamin district administration) ex-
propriated their farmland. Compensation was not paid in advance, which is against the
prescribed legal right of the expropriated farmers. Data from discussants also highlighted
that there are some farmers who did not receive compensation yet for their property
expropriated in the years 2017 and early 2018.
Concerning the value compensation, just 6% of respondents said the value compensa-
tion was fair and commensurate, while the remaining 94% said the compensation was not
fair and commensurate.
3.3. Utilization of Compensation Money
The key problem, as shown by the data gathered from the participants, is that the
government simply takes their land under the slogan “land is for the government” and
compensates them with cash. Nobody taught them what to do with the money or how
to spend it. There was no follow-up from the concerned body. Figure 2documents how
smallholder farmers used the compensation money.
The results revealed that the majority of respondents, about 78%, used the compensa-
tion money for daily consumption. In this way, the expropriated farmers are facing serious
challenges, as they have no options to sustain themselves after the money is depleted. This
improper use of the expropriated money occurs because the municipality did not provide
training regarding the use of money for alternative businesses.
About 15% of the farmers used the money for leasing agricultural land. However,
farmers and discussants also reported about the challenges that farmland is too expensive
to lease or too far from their home. Many of the property owners need to give their land for
sharecropping instead. The rest of the farmers, about 7%, used the money for commercial
business, like livestock trading, breeding and fattening.
Land 2021,10, 614 7 of 16
Land 2021, 10, x FOR PEER REVIEW 7 of 17
spend it. There was no follow-up from the concerned body. Figure 2 documents how
smallholder farmers used the compensation money.
Figure 2. Distribution of sample households by their use of thecompensation money. Source:
Household survey, n = 100, 2020.
The results revealed that the majority of respondents, about 78%, used the compen-
sation money for daily consumption. In this way, the expropriated farmers are facing se-
rious challenges, as they have no options to sustain themselves after the money is de-
pleted. This improper use of the expropriated money occurs because the municipality did
not provide training regarding the use of money for alternative businesses.
About 15% of the farmers used the money for leasing agricultural land. However,
farmers and discussants also reported about the challenges that farmland is too expensive
to lease or too far from their home. Many of the property owners need to give their land
for sharecropping instead. The rest of the farmers, about 7%, used the money for commer-
cial business, like livestock trading, breeding and fattening.
3.4. The Problems Households Faced Due to Expropriation
Figure 3 below shows the major problems faced by the expropriated farmers in the
study area. About 32 respondents faced food insecurity, 11 of them are challenged by so-
cial problems, 10 of them identified family disintegration problems and 39 of the respond-
ents faced more than one problem caused by the expropriation of their land. Only eight
of the respondents did not face any problems due to expropriationrather, the expropri-
ation of their land created opportunities to them.
Figure 2.
Distribution of sample households by their use of the—compensation money. Source:
Household survey, n= 100, 2020.
3.4. The Problems Households Faced Due to Expropriation
Figure 3below shows the major problems faced by the expropriated farmers in the
study area. About 32 respondents faced food insecurity, 11 of them are challenged by social
problems, 10 of them identified family disintegration problems and 39 of the respondents
faced more than one problem caused by the expropriation of their land. Only eight of the
respondents did not face any problems due to expropriation—rather, the expropriation of
their land created opportunities to them.
Land 2021, 10, x FOR PEER REVIEW 7 of 17
spend it. There was no follow-up from the concerned body. Figure 2 documents how
smallholder farmers used the compensation money.
Figure 2. Distribution of sample households by their use of thecompensation money. Source:
Household survey, n = 100, 2020.
The results revealed that the majority of respondents, about 78%, used the compen-
sation money for daily consumption. In this way, the expropriated farmers are facing se-
rious challenges, as they have no options to sustain themselves after the money is de-
pleted. This improper use of the expropriated money occurs because the municipality did
not provide training regarding the use of money for alternative businesses.
About 15% of the farmers used the money for leasing agricultural land. However,
farmers and discussants also reported about the challenges that farmland is too expensive
to lease or too far from their home. Many of the property owners need to give their land
for sharecropping instead. The rest of the farmers, about 7%, used the money for commer-
cial business, like livestock trading, breeding and fattening.
3.4. The Problems Households Faced Due to Expropriation
Figure 3 below shows the major problems faced by the expropriated farmers in the
study area. About 32 respondents faced food insecurity, 11 of them are challenged by so-
cial problems, 10 of them identified family disintegration problems and 39 of the respond-
ents faced more than one problem caused by the expropriation of their land. Only eight
of the respondents did not face any problems due to expropriationrather, the expropri-
ation of their land created opportunities to them.
Figure 3.
Distribution of sample households by types of problems due to expropriation. Source:
Household survey, n= 100, 2020.
3.5. The Impacts of Livelihood Strategies for the Expropriated Peri-Urban Farmers
Figure 4shows the livelihood strategies that households pursue to achieve their
livelihood outcomes. The majority of respondents (44%) named crop production as their
livelihood strategy. Sharecropping was named by 31%. About 8% of the respondents’
livelihood strategy is livestock rearing. About 7% of households also pursue the fattening
of animals as their livelihood strategy. Trading of livestock is the livelihood strategy for 6%
of the respondents. Renting out of agricultural land and daily laborer in town covered 3%
and 7% of the livelihood strategy of the respondents, respectively.
Land 2021,10, 614 8 of 16
Land 2021, 10, x FOR PEER REVIEW 8 of 17
Figure 3. Distribution of sample households by types of problems due to expropriation. Source:
Household survey, n = 100, 2020.
3.5. The Impacts of Livelihood Strategies for the Expropriated Peri-Urban Farmers
Figure 4 shows the livelihood strategies that households pursue to achieve their live-
lihood outcomes. The majority of respondents (44%) named crop production as their live-
lihood strategy. Sharecropping was named by 31%. About 8% of the respondentsliveli-
hood strategy is livestock rearing. About 7% of households also pursue the fattening of
animals as their livelihood strategy. Trading of livestock is the livelihood strategy for 6%
of the respondents. Renting out of agricultural land and daily laborer in town covered 3%
and 7% of the livelihood strategy of the respondents, respectively.
Figure 4. Respondents’ livelihood strategies after expropriation. Source: Household survey, n = 100,
2020.
Data from discussants affirms the quantitative results about limited livelihood strat-
egies in the study area. The predominant livelihood strategy in the locality is agriculture.
According to the statements of the discussants in the key informant interviews and focus
group discussion, the prime livelihood strategy is the cultivation of land; whereas animal
husbandry is their supplementary livelihood strategy. Farmers were forced to rent other
peoples land after losing their own due to expropriation. This, however, was not very
successful. They mentioned that they are not acquainted with any other means of subsist-
ence besides agriculture.
4. Discussion
4.1. Peri-Urban Land Use Transformation
As identified by this study and other similar studies in Ethiopia, the size of the peri-
urban agricultural land is diminishing due to the current fast rate of horizontal urban ex-
pansion and development induced projects [14,19,21]. The main reason for this reduction
of agricultural land is the transformation of the agricultural land to urban land use types
through expropriation [18,40,47,48].
The global urban development growth trend indicates that spatial expansion of ur-
ban areas is very high, especially at the start of urban development. For instance, suburban
sprawl was very high in Europe from 1945 until the mid-1980s, though the situation was
curved to infill development in 1980s and 1990s [49]. This trend of spatial urban expansion
is being observed in the current Ethiopian urban situation by transforming many hectares
of per-urban agricultural land to urban land use types as depicted in the result of this
study (each respondents lost on average 1.42 hectares of land). The current remaining
Figure 4.
Respondents’ livelihood strategies after expropriation. Source: Household survey, n = 100, 2020.
Data from discussants affirms the quantitative results about limited livelihood strate-
gies in the study area. The predominant livelihood strategy in the locality is agriculture.
According to the statements of the discussants in the key informant interviews and focus
group discussion, the prime livelihood strategy is the cultivation of land; whereas animal
husbandry is their supplementary livelihood strategy. Farmers were forced to rent other
people’s land after losing their own due to expropriation. This, however, was not very suc-
cessful. They mentioned that they are not acquainted with any other means of subsistence
besides agriculture.
4. Discussion
4.1. Peri-Urban Land Use Transformation
As identified by this study and other similar studies in Ethiopia, the size of the peri-
urban agricultural land is diminishing due to the current fast rate of horizontal urban
expansion and development induced projects [
14
,
19
,
21
]. The main reason for this reduction
of agricultural land is the transformation of the agricultural land to urban land use types
through expropriation [18,40,47,48].
The global urban development growth trend indicates that spatial expansion of urban
areas is very high, especially at the start of urban development. For instance, suburban
sprawl was very high in Europe from 1945 until the mid-1980s, though the situation was
curved to infill development in 1980s and 1990s [
49
]. This trend of spatial urban expansion
is being observed in the current Ethiopian urban situation by transforming many hectares
of per-urban agricultural land to urban land use types as depicted in the result of this
study (each respondents lost on average 1.42 hectares of land). The current remaining
farm landholding is very small for the household to sustain his/her family necessities
for living. The fast rate of agricultural land use change in peri-urban areas of Ethiopia
are also confirmed by other similar studies conducted in different regions of the country.
For instance, for the Addis Ababa region, Feyera Abdissa [
18
] reported that horizontal
urban growth resulted in the loss of an average of 2.55 hectares of agricultural farmland
per household head with the remaining land area being less than one hectare. Another
study done by Bekele [
50
] in Hawassa city unveiled that for 92% of households the average
land size of the peri-urban community diminished by 1.58 hectares. Siltan [
17
] divulged
that households lost an average of 0.57 hectares of land in the Dejen peri-urban area. Some
other studies [
51
53
] indicate a decrease of agricultural land in peri-urban areas. In general
the current scenario in Ethiopia indicates that development projects and the horizontal
urban expansion is snatching the fertile land and arable land is being transformed to other
land use types [2].
Land 2021,10, 614 9 of 16
4.2. Expropriation and Compensation: The Law and the Practice
In the Ethiopian land administration system, some scholars have noted the pitfalls of
clearly setting the expropriation procedures. However, even the available procedures of
expropriation in the proclamation are not strictly followed and this is creating daunting
problems, as noted in the result of this study.
In the Ethiopian legal system, the Civil Code of the 1960s established the first organized
concept of expropriation. As described in Article 1460 of the Civil Code, Expropriation is
a proceeding in which competent authorities compel an owner to surrender ownership
of immovable property necessary for public purposes. Expropriation is also executed to
obtain or extinguish usufruct, servitude, or other in rem rights on immovable property, or
to terminate a lease contract related to an immovable owned by public authorities before
the agreed term [54].
Article 40(8) of the FDRE constitution states that the government has the right to
expropriate private property for public purposes if payment of compensation equal to the
property’s value is paid in advance [
55
]. The constitution stresses that compensation must
be paid in advance and that the amount must be proportional to the value of the property.
Similarly, expropriation of landholdings for public purposes and payment of compensation
proclamation [
56
] allows expropriation only for public purposes. This means that the use
of land is specified as such by a decision of the appropriate body in combination with
the urban structure plan or development plan in order to ensure the people’s interest in
obtaining direct or indirect paybacks from the use of the land and to combine sustainable
socioeconomic development.
In addition to the National Laws, the UN Guidelines on Development-based Evictions
and Displacement require the following procedures during the expropriation [57]:
Provide appropriate notice to all potentially impacted and expropriated persons before
expropriating land;
Provide ample time for public consultation or comment on the proposed plan;
Provide opportunities for persons to seek legal counsel on their rights and options; and
Hold meetings that allow affected persons and their supporters to challenge the
evictions or provide alternative proposals.
The laws [
54
57
] also specifies compensation and payments in cash, in kind or both to
an individual for property located on his or her expropriated landholding. They also state
that landholdings for public purposes can only be expropriated using the specified proce-
dures. Where a district or an urban administration intends to expropriate a landholding,
they have to notify the landholder in writing, specifying the time the land must be vacated
and the amount of compensation documented in the proclamation [56].
However, as documented by the findings of this study, the practice differs significantly
from the written laws. According to Article 3(1) of Expropriation Proclamation [
56
],
the first phase in the expropriation process is to decide if the proposed project serves
a public purpose. Incorporating the public purpose into the expropriation framework
should prevent the power of state organs from taking over the farmland from private
holders [
58
]. Competent institutions permitted by law to expropriate private property
must make the determination about the public purpose. The authorities will hold a public
inquiry if necessary. The owner of the immovable and/or individuals, whose rights such as
servitudes, usufructuary rights, mortgagee and/or lessee are recorded for the immovable
to be expropriated, must receive expropriation orders issued by the authorities. Persons,
whose property rights are threatened by expropriation, are required to notify the authorities
of the amount of compensation sought for those rights.
Nevertheless, the data from the respondents and the discussants revealed that expro-
priated peri-urban farmers were not part of the discussion during the determination of
the purpose of expropriation. The expropriated farmers raised critical questions about the
purpose of the expropriation. They claimed that the expropriation is not based on the public
purpose justification; rather it is simply due to the interest of the administrative organ. This
finding can be interpreted as saying that expropriation cannot be undertaken solely for the
Land 2021,10, 614 10 of 16
benefit of the state’s commercial interests or those of a private person (such as the so called
investors but practically the speculators). Public participation is very important to ensure
that the expropriation of land is justified for public purpose [
58
60
]. However, this is not
exercised in most developing countries. The rural people in developing countries are often
far away from many important decision making processes during expropriations [
24
,
61
,
62
].
As per article 10(1) of Expropriation Proclamation [
56
], if the expropriated property is
in a rural region, the compensation to be paid will be determined by a committee of up
to five experts appointed by the administration. A party being unhappy with the amount
of compensation decided by the committee may file a lawsuit with a tribunal formed for
this purpose. If such a tribunal is not formed in the area of the expropriated land, a normal
court may have jurisdiction. The tribunal or court must make a decision within a time limit
specified by the region. If a party is dissatisfied with the tribunal’s or court’s decision, he
or she can file an appeal with a normal appellate court within 30 days of the decision’s
date. The appellate court’s ruling is final. However, the individual, whose land has been
expropriated, has to prove the hand-over of the land to the district or city administration
in order to appeal [56].
In the current study, the majority of respondents were dissatisfied by the amount of
money they received as compensation for the expropriated farmland. They claimed that
the administrative organ closed the door when they question the fairness of the valuation
process. Also, as far as the determining of the amount of the compensation money, there
was no public participation, even though the law of the nation provided this right for the
expropriated farmers. The expropriated farmers were not pre-informed and were not ready
to follow all the procedures to defend their rights [14].
They did not know their rights to land before expropriation. Legal advocacy has also
been unthinkable for the expropriated farmers. Similar to this study, several researchers
have highlighted major problems in the asset inventory and valuation process in Ethiopia,
but also in other countries [7,43,6366].
4.3. Use of Compensation Payment
As documented in the results section, the majority (75%) of the respondents use the
compensation money for consumption. The rest of the compensation money is utilized for
land lease and commercial business activities (Figure 2). This result provides evidence that
smallholder farmers, after losing their agricultural land, are not able to develop production,
businesses or apprenticeships to create a stable income to ensure livelihoods. Usually,
the only professional competence of farmers is the cultivation of land. Therefore, some
farmers tried to rent from or share cropland with others, investing the compensation
money. Nevertheless, their activities are not profitable due to the costs of the rented and
sharecropped land. Finally, the compensation money was depleted, and farmers were
forced to cultivate only their own land that had not been expropriated.
Senior farmers often took their remuneration and put it into the household’s expenses.
Other studies also confirmed that the expropriated farmers use the compensation money
for shopping and daily consumption purposes. Agegnehu and Mansberger [
14
] discussed
that farmers used much of the compensation money for regular expenses. Likewise,
Nguyen [
67
] disclosed that 70% of the compensation money had been used for shopping
purposes in Quang Ninh District, Quang Binh Province of Vietnam.
As there were no incentive programs for families, such as training or facilities, the
expropriated farmers have no hint about how to use the payment received for the expropri-
ated land. Other studies documented some promises to provide post-exportation training
and services to dislocated households. According to the study of Ayele [
11
], farmers were
offered training and organization in micro-level enterprises of various types immediately
after displacement, which was suggested as a solution to joblessness. However, none of
the promised pieces of training and social services were delivered after displacement, as
stated by Agegnehu and Mansberger [14].
Land 2021,10, 614 11 of 16
According to Feyera [
18
], the expropriated farming community’s social assets have
changed as a result of urbanization, and dislocated households’ presence in social institu-
tions has disappeared. Bekele [
50
] disclosed a decline in the social capital of the community
after urban expansion, and Ayele [
11
] also reported a weakening of social capitals of the
community due to the dispersion of families, relatives, neighbors and members of the
social networks to a different location to search for a residential house during relocation.
Similar results were achieved by a study of Teketel [
20
] on urban expansion and its effects
on peripheral farming communities in Hosanna town in the Ethiopian Southern Nations,
Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR).
4.4. Problems Faced due to Expropriation
As described in the results section of this paper, the expropriated farmers faced the
problems of food insecurity, social capital loss, family disintegration and the combination
of either two or all of these problems (Figure 3). It is important to remember that land is
just one of the development factors that affects food security in rural households [
26
,
68
,
69
].
Displacing peoples from their home, where their embryo has been buried, psychologically
affects them because they lose the social capitals they formed [33,70].
Field research on expropriation in China documents that unemployment and low
income are common among land-lost farmers, mainly due to their low educational level
and their lack of experience in non-agricultural work. The studies give evidence that land
expropriation led to the loss of subsistence, interruption of economic activities, psychologi-
cal distress and land conflicts among farmers, whose land was expropriated [
71
]. People
are affected emotionally, culturally or spiritually by the loss of their land [72].
4.5. Livelihood Strategies Alteration
Land is one of the most important determinants of establishing sustainable livelihood
strategies [
73
]. The term livelihood strategies is used to indicate the range and combination
of activities and choice that people undertake in order to achieve their livelihood objec-
tives [
74
]. The Department of International Development [
69
,
74
] identified three livelihood
strategies that could occur if farmland was taken away from households: agricultural
intensification, livelihood diversification and migration. It may also be a combination of
them. Agricultural intensification is the efficient use of small inputs such as land to produce
a large amount of products and livelihood diversification is the process of constructing
multiple types of activities to survive [
17
]. Migration, in other words, is the movement of
people seeking opportunities to increase income for their household [76].
However, the findings of this study differ from the identifications by Department of
International Development [
70
,
75
] because agricultural intensification is unthinkable. The
majority of expropriated farmers still depend on traditional farming. Diversification and
migration as livelihood strategies are confirmed (Figure 4). Traditional agriculture is still
used by a significant number of households. Expropriated households did not alter their
livelihood strategy significantly. Despite the loss of farmland, the majority of smallholder
farmers in the study region remain heavily reliant on agriculture. They used to be, and
still are, agrarian societies. Even those farmers encircled by the town due to horizontal
urban expansion have been practicing traditional agriculture by going far from their home
in search of farmland.
Deviating from the findings of the current study, a huge amount of publications on
this subject document that households, who lost their homes and farmland, were forced
to change their livelihood strategies [
17
]. According to Feyera [
18
], dislocated farming
communities followed a range of subsistence strategies, including daily labor such as
guarding, local alcohol processing, water vending and urban and peri-urban agriculture.
The finding of this study differs not only from research activities undertaken in other parts
of Ethiopia, but also from other countries. According to a study from Vietnam, household
livelihoods have been reconstructed after land expropriation had been undertaken [
67
].
As a coping strategy, the households used a variety of livelihood strategies, according to
Land 2021,10, 614 12 of 16
Bekele [
50
]. Some farmers moved to rural areas to pursue small farming, while others,
who were already wealthy and powerful, moved to urban areas to start their own urban
businesses. The study made by Leulsegged Kasa et al. [
6
] reported that expropriated
households engaged in different livelihood strategies after losing their farmland. They
were involved in off-farm activities, like a daily laborer, guard, water vending and the
like. The study conducted by Fetene et al. [
5
] and Alemineh [
77
] also found that loss of
farmland causes farmers to change their livelihood strategies from agricultural farming
practice to semi and non–agricultural strategies. However, the majority of the households
still stayed at their residence on very small plots and engaged in different work like petty
trading, daily labor and working as guardsmen.
It can be deduced that households in peri-urban areas that have had their farmland
expropriated and dispossessed have changed their livelihood strategy. However, this study
differs from previous studies in that expropriated households in the study area did not
alter their subsistence strategies.
In countries like Ethiopia, where agriculture is the economy’s dominant sector which
provides more than 80% of the population’s livelihood, a horizontal urban housing devel-
opment strategy that changes productive cultivated land to housing construction results in
an undeniable decline in the supply of food crops in the surrounding region in particular,
and in the nation as a whole [2,78,79].
5. Conclusions and Recommendations
Currently, the expropriation of agricultural land to provide new land for industrial
and urban expansion is prevalent in developing countries like Ethiopia. The conversion
of agricultural land into land designated for urban land use types is common practice in
peri-urban areas. The process has been facilitated by the power of government; farmland is
acquired without the consent of the landholders. Cities in Ethiopia are spatially expanding
at an alarming rate at the expense of peri-urban poor landholdings, to accommodate the
building and infrastructure needs of the urban society. Even development-induced projects
are given priority by regional and local governments as a consequence of the industry-led
development strategy of the federal government of Ethiopia. Most industries need to
gain land in the urban interface due to access to basic infrastructure and facilities like
road, water, electric power supply and the like. Accordingly, there is high rate of land
tenure transformation from rural to urban land use types and the situation is expected to
continue for some time even into the future. In such situations, as observed in this study,
there is urban development motivated expropriation perception by municipalities and
rural land administration offices. This perception has to be changed immediately and the
expropriation processes and compensation payments should be the primary concern of the
affected farmers. As a mitigative measure of this, the revision of the current incomparable
expropriation and compensation legislation is imperative, taking into account the escalating
prices of land in the peri-urban areas. However, up to that time, strict follow-up of the
available expropriation and compensation proclamation and monitoring and evaluating
the legality of expropriation is essential to safeguard the rights of the peri-urban poor,
at least to some extent. The public hearings and participation in the whole process of
expropriation should be given attention, and thereby transparency and accountability must
be achieved.
It has been said time and again that the goal of compensation should be to build a
basis for the peri-urban farmers to pursue a sustainable and long-term livelihood income.
It should also cover the total social costs of resettlement. However, when the amount of
compensation payment given to the affected farmers is evaluated, it is not comparable
with the value of the land expropriated. However, the basic challenge lays not only in its
incomparability but also in that even the paid small amount of money is not properly used
by the affected farmers. The money is expected to be used for business strategies in order to
commensurate income lost due to expropriation, but what has been observed in this study
and other similar studies is that farmers have used it for regular expenses. Even saving in
Land 2021,10, 614 13 of 16
banks is not economical at the current double rate of inflation in the country. Therefore,
supporting farmers to use the money for alternative businesses is very essential and this
has to be set even before the start of the expropriation. There must be clear policy, which
enables the peri-urban farmers to adapt to the urban way of life and let them integrate into
urban society before expropriation.
Therefore, the following key points are recommended, to be given priority by the
government, to reduce the drawbacks of expropriation:
The government needs to get ideas, start a discussion and reach consensus with the
target groups about the compensation guidelines before their approval and execution.
The capacity building and technical support to land loss farmers due to expropriation
needs to be given priority by the concerned bodies to conserve food and nutritional se-
curity.
The government needs to think about vertical urban housing development strategy
to reverse the situation; this strategy has numerous advantages such as effective use
of land, reduction of cots to fulfill infrastructural utilities, and avoiding reduction of
yield due to land-use change especially in most productive areas.
Finally, yet importantly, because of the proposed new economic policy which gives
due emphasis to urban development, the compensation guidelines need to be correctly
evaluated and revised to the mutual benefit of expropriated farmers and the govern-
ment.
Expropriation is always a source of conflict. On one hand, the governments are
challenged to provide land for housing, for infrastructure and for industrial development.
On the other hand, the farmers have the land as their livelihood and they are emotionally
attached to the places with which they associate many fond memories. Due to diverging
interests, the conflicts cannot be solved, but the conflicts can be mitigated by enabling
farmers an equivalent livelihood after expropriation. There are numerous ways to do it.
First, giving them sufficient money is one of the possibilities. However, what is sufficient
money? The amount will dependent on the people, the site and the possibilities to invest
the money. Second, giving them land at another place. In this case, the site of provided
land has to be accepted by the farmers and the size is dependent on the quality of the
soil. Third, offering them employment in a public or private institution. In this case, the
knowledge, skills and competences of the farmers in non-agricultural professional fields
will limit the possibilities.
The three alternatives highlighted above have to be answered by carrying out further
research. The alternatives seem to be short and simple, but to give the right answers requires
the involvement of legal, technical, socio-economic as well as environmental disciplines.
The challenge will be to consider individuality of legal frameworks, of institutional settings,
attitudes of farmers, quality of soils, and the economic and social environment on the local,
regional, national and international levels.
Author Contributions:
Conceptualization: T.D., D.F., Y.H., W.N., M.T., S.K.A. and R.M. formal
analysis: T.D. and Y.H.; funding acquisition: S.K.A., R.M.; T.D., D.F., Y.H., W.N., M.T., S.K.A. and
R.M.; methodology: T.D., D.F., Y.H., W.N., M.T., S.K.A. and R.M.; Project administration: S.K.A. and
R.M.; Supervision: Y.H. and M.T., Validation: D.F.; Visualization: T.D., D.F., Y.H., W.N., M.T., S.K.A.
and R.M.; Writing—original draft: T.D.; Writing—review & Editing: T.D., D.F., Y.H., W.N., M.T.,
S.K.A. and R.M. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
Funding:
This research was enabled by the Austrian Development Agency within the Austrian
Partnership Program in Higher Education and Research for Development (APPEAR). Project no. 113
“Implementation of Academic Land Administration Education in Ethiopia for Supporting Sustainable
Development” (EduLAND2).
Institutional Review Board Statement:
All respondents of questionnaire and all participants of focus
group discussions and key experts’ interviews are not mentioned by name. Results are aggregated
and cannot be traced back to individual persons.
Land 2021,10, 614 14 of 16
Informed Consent Statement:
All persons involved in the study participated voluntary and agreed
the publication of results derived from their responses.
Conflicts of Interest:
We confirm that this work is original and has not been published elsewhere
nor is it currently under consideration for publication elsewhere and the authors declare that there is
no conflict of interest.
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The expropriation of agricultural land to provide new land for industrial and urban expansion, referred to as compulsory acquisition, is prevalent in developing countries. Using Vietnam as a laboratory, this study evaluates the impacts of losing farmland through compulsory acquisition on household welfare and reaches the following findings. A 10 percentage point increase in the proportion of land expropriated results in a 2.2% decrease in household welfare proxied by food expenditure. Besides, politically unconnected and ethnic minority households are disproportionately vulnerable. The adverse welfare effect could take up to 10 years to evaporate. The reduction in household welfare is attributable to the decline in agricultural income and the inability to participate in the non-agricultural labor market. Other aspects of household behavior following compulsory acquisition are also explored, such as saving, social capital, labor, and capital allocation.
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Countries have pursued land reform (LR) to contribute towards equity, poverty alleviation and job creation. Land confiscation and market-assisted approaches are used the most in expediting LR. The approach adopted in each of the countries will depend on the prevailing circumstances and priorities of those advocating for LR. South Africa implemented LR for the past two decades aimed to provide meaningful contribution to the livelihood of beneficiaries, among others. However, economic quantification of livelihood gains attained by households (hhs) from LR farms is unknown. The present paper aimed to quantify the economic contributions to livelihoods of various activities at LR farms, and to analyse factors underlying these contributions. We surveyed 87 hhs who were active in 43 LR farms in the Waterberg District, Limpopo Province. Five LR farm types were distinguished: Restitution (Rest), settlement/land acquisition grant (SLAG), land redistribution for agricultural development phases 1 and 2 (LRAD1 and LRAD2) and proactive land acquisition strategy (PLAS) farms. We used a stepwise approach for data collection, which included focus group discussions, household (hh) surveys and livelihood pie charts. On-farm contributions were higher (±49.5%) in LRAD1, LRAD2 and PLAS, compared to on-farm contributions of hhs in Rest and SLAG (±15.5%), because most of the hh heads (±68.3%) were younger (≤59 years), and hhs were physical capital endowed and farmed in physical capital endowed farms. Livestock farming was a key land use activity because of the prevailing agroecological conditions. The LR policy should prioritise provision of farm physical capital and livestock production to improve on-farm livelihood contributions in physical capital poor farms.
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The rapid urbanization of China results in a large number of land-lost peasants and relevant social problems that impede sustainable development. Land-lost peasants are encouraged to venture into entrepreneurship to improve their survival and development. However, a few studies have investigated the dynamic process of the entrepreneurial decision-making behavior of land-lost peasants. Therefore, how to effectively promote entrepreneurship among land-lost peasants remains unknown. This study revises the Todaro model by considering the characteristics of land-lost peasants and land expropriation scenarios to describe the decision-making behavior of land-lost peasants. An agent-based simulation model is further developed based on the revised Todaro model to simulate the impacts of land expropriation on the entrepreneurial decision-making behavior of land-lost peasants. Relevant measures are also proposed to provide effective guidance for promoting entrepreneurship to land-lost peasants based on the simulation results. The findings can provide references for local governments to promote entrepreneurship among land-lost peasants in China and other regions.