The Land Use Consolidation Act (LUC) was introduced in 2008 and is an important component of agricultural policy in Rwanda. As part of the Government of Rwanda’s broader Crop Intensification Program (CIP), LUC entails participating farmers consolidating aspects of their operations with neighboring farmers, while retaining individual ownership of their parcels. LUC farmers also agree to grow a single priority crop that has been identified by the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI) as best suited to local conditions and consistent with Rwanda’s overall agricultural strategy. The rationale for LUC is that joining small plots together to farm as a single unit would deliver important economies of scale in agricultural production, resulting in improvements to efficiency and sustainability, which would in turn boost household well-being and promote greater equity.
LUC is a large-scale initiative, and by 2011 approximately 13% of the total land area under cultivation in Rwanda was under LUC, with approximately 40% of the farmers in the country participating (MINAGRI, 2012). LUC has been implemented to some extent in all districts of Rwanda, and continues to expand to additional areas.
The research builds on existing literatures on several topics relevant to LUC. These include theoretical and historical perspectives on land fragmentation and the process of land consolidation, LUC’s role in the broader context of land reform in Rwanda, and a number of previous studies that have looked at various aspects of LUC.