Meaning of Land Tenure
Land tenure can be defined as the manner in which a party holds or occupies an area of land. The rules governing land tenure are invented by societies to regulate land ownership behaviours. Tenure rules help define how property rights to land are allocated within societies.
Land Tenure Systems in Nigeria
- Communal ownership
- Free hold
- Tenant at government will.
Communal Land Tenure System
This emphasizes the community as the Lord of the land. The head of the community decides the basis for land sharing, which is usually done every planting season
Advantages of Communal Land Tenure System
- Every adult member of the community is a potential land owner
- Land ownership through this means is usually at no cost.
- Communal Land Tenure System encourages large scale farming.
Disadvantages of Communal Land Tenure System
- Non-indigenes of the community are usually excluded from acquiring land.
2. Permanent crop cultivation is not accepted because land is allotted for only a farming season.
3. Mechanised farming cannot be practiced without permission of the whole community.
4. Allotted land can be revoked by a new leader.
5. Land cannot be used as collateral for loan except when the community approves it.
6. The area of land allotted depends upon the size of the population.
7. Unmarried women may not be allotted land.
8. Permanent plants may not be cultivated
Individual Land Tenure
This is a system of ownership where the land can be acquired by an individual.
Advantages of Individual Land Tenure
- Anyone is permitted to acquire any size of land based on his/her financial capability
2. Both permanent and arable crops can be cultivated.
3. The owner has authority as to how the land is used.
4. There is no discrimination as to tribe or state of origin in the process of acquiring land.
5. Land can be used as collateral for loan.
Disadvantages of Individual Land Tenure
- Only the rich may acquire land at certain areas.
2. Land may be acquired in fragments
Inheritance Tenure System
Through this system, land is bequeathed to the next of kin or any other person, who assumes ownership of the land at the death of the main owner.
Advantages of Inheritance Tenure System
- This is the most readily available tenure system open to farmers.
2. Permanent plants can be cultivated e.g. oil palm, cocoa, rubber, kola, etc.
3. Land can be used as collateral in obtaining loan from banks.
4. Children yet unborn are provided
Disadvantages of Inheritance Tenure System
- It leads to land fragmentation. This happens when a piece of land has to be shared among beneficiaries after the death of the owner.
2. Size of land allotted may not be suitable for commercial agriculture.
3. Sharing land sometimes results to disputes among beneficiaries and other family members.
4. In some families, scale of land is not acceptable because this will deprive future generations of their inheritance.
5. Women are often not listed as the beneficiaries during land allocation except where the deceased has no male child.
6. Ownership is sometimes difficult to determine, especially in polygamous families where every first born male child is a head.
Leasehold Tenure System
This is an ownership of a temporary right to hold land in which a lessee or a tenant holds rights to the land by some form of title from a lessor or landlord.
Advantages of Leasehold Tenure System
- A leasehold land is typically considered personal property.
2. It allows the tenant to have maximum use of the land.
3. It can be available for permanent crop cultivation depending on the lease period
Disadvantages of Leasehold Tenure System
- The farmer cannot develop the land beyond the lease agreements terms.
2. Land on leases cannot serve as security for loans.
3. A lease agreement of less than fifty years is not ideal for permanent crop cultivation.
Gift Tenure System
This is a system of land ownership in which rights to a piece of land is voluntarily given out by the lord to another person.
Advantages of Gift Tenure System
- New owner can make maximum use of the land for production purpose.
2. Land on gift is irredeemable.
3. Permanent crops and keeping of animals are acceptable.
4. It can be used to source for loan from financial institutions.
Disadvantages of Gift Tenure System
- Where land is given out by government and is not backed by proper documentation, it can be retrieved.
2. The true ownership can be challenged and revoked by a court order.
Rent Tenure System
This is a system whereby a tenant pays some amount for the period of using the land to a stated landlord. The period of rent is relatively very short compared to leasehold systems.
Advantages of Rent Tenure System
- It is ideal for food crop production.
2. The farmer can make the best use of land during the rent period.
Disadvantages of Rent Tenure System
- The landlord can revoke the tenancy when the rent period expires.
2. It discourages long plan
3. Land cannot be used as collateral for loan from financial institutions.
Purchase or Freehold Tenure System
This is a system whereby a person pays a certain sum of money for the right of ownership of a piece of land.
Advantages of Purchase or Freehold Tenure System
- Land acquired through this means can be used for any means.
2. Land can be used as collateral for loan.
3. Both male and female can acquire land provided the price is paid.
4. Animal husbandry is also very ideal.
5. There is a maximum use of land to increase production.
Disadvantages of Purchase or Freehold Tenure System
- It’s becoming increasingly expensive to acquire land through this means.
2. Prospective farmers may not have access to the required land.
4. Farmers may fall into the hands of illegal sales agents.
5. Mechanisation is not possible on small land holdings.
Tenants at Government Will
This system is where land is given out to farmers by the government. Such arrangement can be terminated at any time by either the farmer or the owner (Government)
Advantages of Tenants at Government Will
1. All farmers can have access to land.
2. It is ideal for aggressive food production programme.
4. The land is cheap to acquire.
Disadvantages of Tenants at Government Will
1. There are usually too many regulations and control from the government
2. The land can be revoked if the tenant fails to meet stipulated requirements.
3. Land cannot be used as collateral for loan.
4. Permanent crops cannot be cultivated.