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Results BriefsNovember 28, 2023

Madagascar: Making an Impact on Land Reform and Agriculture

The Madagascar Agriculture Rural Growth and Land Management Project (CASEF) supported 25 percent of Malagasy municipalities to issue more than 570,000 land certificates, of which 28 percent were delivered to women, and joint certificates. An additional 660,000 certificate applications are in process. Approximately 300,000 households have been able to secure land through the project, which is approximately 1.5 million individuals out of a population of 28 million. Through inclusive approaches and new technologies, the cost for a land document has been reduced from $600 to $25.

Here in Ambatotsipihana, I am among those who have benefited greatly from the distribution of land certificates. For so many years, I had no legal document proving ownership of my lands. When we heard about the ‘land certificates operation’ we applied for our lands, and we now fully enjoy our rights. Our land certificates were used as a guarantee to buy fertilizers for our crops and to obtain credit from microfinance institutions. They value land certificates enormously because oxen or carts or motorcycles can die or break down, which is not the case with land certificates. As a result, our income has increased because we were able to expand our fields and diversify our crops with corn and soybeans. We are more confident because the land belongs to us. We were even able to launch a new small business. This is one of the benefits that we get from the use of our land certificates, which has greatly improved our lives.”

Rasolofo Andrianoarintsoa, farmer

300,800 households

An estimated 300,800 households have benefitted from the project, which is approximately 1.5 million individuals out of a population of 28 million.


Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. In 2023, over 85 percent of the country’s population is dependent on agriculture as the main livelihood activity; 53 percent of which are women who are responsible for producing 80 percent of food crops and overseeing nearly 90 percent of agricultural processing activities. The country’s rural productivity has been hindered for decades by farmers’ scarce capacity to secure their land property rights. Millions of farmers did not have official land documents due to cumbersome and lengthy procedures and the prohibitive cost of land titling. This “land crisis” resulted in recurrent land conflicts, low investment on agricultural plots, and low economic productivity. In 2005, an innovative land reform brought in momentum for land certificates, a new legal document allowing rural land registration by local governments.


The Madagascar Agriculture Rural Growth and Land Management Project (CASEF) Project aims to support the delivery of 1,390,000 land certificates in 14 administrative regions by June 2024, through massive land certification field operations. The development of conducive legal provisions was used as the cornerstone strategy, and has been fully supported by the government since June 2022. In addition, the collaboration between the project implementation unit, the Ministry of Land Affairs, and qualified private service providers has succeeded in implementing digital tools to facilitate mass field surveys and data collection. The strong demand recently soared due to an unprecedented commitment by the government, which considered land certification a “State Affair.” A substantial investment was made in regional communication and training, open fairs, and public ceremonies featuring the President of Republic delivering land certificates.

Madagascar Agriculture
Photo: Andry Ranoarivony/Fireflies


Between 2016 and May 2023, the project achieved the following results:

  • The adoption of consolidated national land laws: A law on non–titled private property in 2022 and two decrees of application in 2023. The updated legal framework allowed for massive land rights registration.
  • The issuance of 570, 000 land certificates, 28 percent delivered to women and joint certificates (the names of the man and women are included). Another 660,000 certificate applications are in process.
  • An estimated 300,800 households have benefitted from the project, which is approximately 1.5 million individuals out of a population of 28 million.
  • Support to the government in achieving 50 percent of their national objective of one million land certificates per year.
  • Helping reduce the cost of a land document from $600 to $25 by implementing inclusive approaches and digital technologies.
  • With the achievement of nearly one million land certificates in the next few months, the project will have contributed to securing 10 percent of the rural plots in Madagascar, an estimated value of around $10 million.

Bank Group Contribution

The project component for land activities was supported by $47 million in International Development Association (IDA) resources. This has included financing for technical assistance for field operations, support of land administration units through specific agreements, the supply of high-resolution satellite images, training of municipal land staff, IT equipment for municipalities and land administration units, and the rehabilitation of some buildings of decentralized land units.


The Ministry of Land Affairs was the key institutional partner for enacting a conducive legal and operational framework for mass land certification. On the ground, local and international firms provided large-scale technical assistance, including stakeholder training, awareness campaigns, process and tools digitization, and support to municipalities in registration processing. The National Institute for Decentralization and Local Development provided training material. A Civil Society Organization (CSO) platform assisted the efforts with the policy dialogue. Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), and the European Union also provided support and coordination.

Looking Ahead

The project ends in June 2024, with no follow-up plan in the works. The new Country Partnership Framework could not consider the Malagasy land sector because, at the time of its preparation, the previous Ministry of Land had created an unfavorable situation for the land reform which could have jeopardized the project development objectives. A stunning turnaround, driven by the government in June 2022, has relaunched the land reform to the point of becoming a national priority, which sets voluntary objectives with a view to producing one million land certificates per year within the framework of a new national land program that is under preparation.