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Without knowledge of the local context, investing responsibly in land & agriculture is challenging.  Tools and guidelines have been developed to guide private sector actors on how to invest responsibly and how to take proper account of legitimate community land rights, but there is no substitute for practical experience of dealing with tenure issues and the challenges on the ground. This page provides an overview of lessons learned from recent responsible land investment pilot projects. 

Highlighted Tools & Resources


Responsible Land investment: lessons of 5 years work

A slide deck developed by DFID’s Core Land Support Team summarizing overarching lessons from analysis undertaken and project experience.




Investing Responsibly in Agricultural Land: Lessons from responsible land investment pilots in sub-Saharan Africa

A summary of lessons from the LEGEND challenge fund and other responsible land investment pilot project. Read more about it here.

Analytical Paper Series

Analytical Paper Series

Analytical papers published between 2015 and 2019 on relevant issues, including: Land legacy issues, Community Legal Empowerment, the Role of Development Finance Institutions, Land and Corruption, Inclusive agribusiness, and a comparison of the VGGT principles and the IFC safeguards. Read more about it here.
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Key thematic lessons from practical experience

The LEGEND Challenge Fund supported a set of pilot projects with civil society and business partners in 2016-2019 to test responsible approaches to agricultural land investments in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Read more about the eight key lessons derived from these and other pilot projects:

1 Key Lesson 1: Proper attention to Land Tenure in Investment Planning & Due Diligence
Fit for purpose tools in due diligence & risk assessments in planning stages to avoid negative impacts.
2 Key lesson 2: Recognize & Document Legitimate Tenure Rights
Tools & approaches to map & secure informal rights in the absence of comprehensive government systems.
3 Key lesson 3: Establish Fair & Open Community Consultation and Negotiations
Reaching agreement with people directly affected to avoid & resolve land conflicts & gain social licence to operate.
4 Key lesson 4: Support Communities to Ensure a Level Playing Field
Legal & other support to address power imbalances with communities and companies.
5 Key lesson 5: Mainstream Land in Company Sustainability Practices
Ensuring a focus on land tenure in company operations through clear internal incentives and procedures.
6 Key lesson 6: Develop Adaptive & Inclusive Business Models and Plans
Adjust plans to reduce scale of land acquisitions & invest in community-based enterprise and smallholder partnerships as alternatives.
7 Strengthen Land Governance At Scale through Stakeholder Collaboration
Multi-stakeholder approaches to include all groups, safeguard the environment & access climate & landscape finance for new opportunities.
8 Key lesson 8: Improve Company Access to Skills & Services to Address Land Rights
The need for funding mechanisms to enable collaboration to understand & address land issues and engage with local communities.

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