Mima Nedelcovych on why land matters for food security.

Without clarity around land rights, commercial farm developers are destined to finance projects that either disenfranchise smallholders or wither on the vine.

For banks to finance farming investments, they need a clear picture of who holds the title on the land that is being developed. Potential investors in commercial crops like sugar cane and rice have to be able to assemble large tracts of land into a workable production model to be profitable, and that can’t happen — at least not in a way that also benefits communities — unless those investors and their financiers know who owns the land.

Devex spoke with Mima Nedelcovych, newly appointed president and CEO of the Initiative for Global Development and former U.S. executive director to the African Development Bank, to learn how clear land rights can pave the way to bankable — and inclusive — commercial farming projects.

With land assets rising in value around the world, Nedelcovich urged developers not to base their investments on the “illusion” of land ownership, but ensure they have a clear picture of who will derive value from the development process.

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Feeding Development is an online conversation hosted by Devex in partnership with ACDI/VOCA, Chemonics, Fintrac, GAIN, Nestlé and Tetra Tech to reimagine solutions for a food-secure future from seed and soil to a healthy meal.

About the author

  • Michael Igoe

    Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.

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