Bangladesh has a predominantly agricultural economy and the establishment of an efficient land tenure system is crucial to face the challenges it faces to overcome challenges presented by food insecurity and climate change.
The National Land Use Policy of 2001 set out the guidelines for eliminating the high conversion rate of agricultural land to non-agricultural purposes, for the use of agro-ecological zones to determine maximum land-use efficiency and for improving the environmental sustainability of land-use practices. The ownership of land in Bangladesh is still regulated by the Transfer Property Act of 1882 and the Registration Act of 1908, which establish the procedures for titling and registration of land ownership and the procedures of updating land records.
However, tenure security and access to land remain inequitable, in particular in rural areas where 89% of landowners own less than 1 ha and 39% have less than 0.2 ha. In addition, despite the constitutional ban on the discrimination of property rights based on gender, women lack equal property rights and rarely hold title to land. The unequal distribution of land in Bangladesh is also exacerbated by the violence due to scarcity of land and by ‘land grabs’ of both rural and urban land by domestic actors. Additionally, the county’s geographical position in the floodplains of three major rivers creates an elevated level of vulnerability to floods and related problems, including expropration.