Nicaragua

Nicaragua’s tumultuous political history reflects the dramatic impacts that differing perspectives on property rights and resource governance can have on the structure and performance of societies and economies. The Somoza regimes that governed Nicaragua from 1936 to 1979 emphasized the primacy of private property rights and the pursuit of an export market-oriented, large-scale commercial agriculture. These policies resulted in an economy in which rural land ownership was concentrated in the hands of relatively few Nicaraguans who operated farms producing coffee, cotton, sugar, tobacco, and beef for export, largely to the United States. This success, however, was accompanied by high rates of rural landlessness, low productivity in the small-farm food sector, and the emergence of stark inequalities of income and opportunity within the Nicaraguan population. The Sandinista government (1979–1990) reversed these policies, expropriating large landowners’ property for redistribution to cooperatives and smallholders and for use as state farms oriented toward food production for domestic markets. This move toward national self-sufficiency – combined with a reorientation of trade patterns toward Eastern Europe, Cuba, and other socialist countries – was more inclusive but did not provide a path to more equitable prosperity. Incomes declined and poverty levels climbed throughout the 1980s. During its seven- year tenure (1990–1997), the democratically elected government of Violeta Chamorro attempted to chart a middle path by adopting policies that protected the rights of land reform beneficiaries while also recognizing the rights of the landowners dispossessed by the reforms. These competing policies resulted in a plethora of competing claims, undermined land tenure security, and limited much-needed investment in the agriculture sector.

Successive Nicaraguan governments have made efforts to strike the appropriate balance between (1) promoting greater investment in economic growth through private ownership and management of property, especially agricultural lands; and (2) realizing greater social justice, including provision of more equitable and secure access to land by the poor and vulnerable. Some progress has been made. However, Nicaragua remains a highly inequitable lower middle-income economy, with the lowest 20% of the population holding less than 4% of national income and 39% of rural households estimated to be landless. Poverty is largely a rural phenomenon, with two-thirds of the rural population living below the poverty line.

External support is critical to both the Government of Nicaragua (GON) and to the prospects of poor, rural Nicaraguans, especially those indigenous groups living in the thinly settled and remote areas of the Atlantic coastal region. Donors provided an average of 18% of Nicaragua’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as official development assistance from 2000–2008, down from a high of 72% in 1991. This official development assistance constitutes a significant share of the government’s budgets in key sectors, including water, environmental protection, and health. External support also comes through private channels. Remittances from Nicaraguans living abroad, largely in Costa Rice and the US, are estimated to supplement the incomes of 40% of Nicaraguan households, with over US $1 billion flowing into the country in 2008. In addition, the US-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) provides expanded opportunities for Nicaragua to export agricultural, fisheries, and manufactured products to the United States.

Donor governments and international financial institutions have explicitly supported continued strengthening of the property rights systems in Nicaragua, funding several projects for land administration, titling, and the regularization of documents regarding land rights over the last two decades. The process is slow, however, and most Nicaraguans still lack clear tenure rights. Donors and international environmental organizations have also contributed to conservation of the forest and biodiversity resources of Nicaragua with substantial funding and have worked to ensure the rights of indigenous groups in the Atlantic coastal region. Disaster recovery assistance has also been provided, particularly after Hurricanes Mitch and Felix.

With such support, Nicaragua’s economy has made slow but fairly steady progress since the late 1990s. Analysts point out, though, that Nicaragua can only increase its economic competitiveness – and jobs and incomes for the poor – if the government directs greater attention to agricultural modernization and the resolution of continued uncertainties regarding land. And others note that the unique and extensive environmental resources of Nicaragua – its forest resources, in particular – may be irreversibly threatened by illegal logging and unsustainable uses for agriculture and ranching. Mining operations in some areas have also resulted in deforestation and in water contamination.

National and local leadership face the challenge of developing a vision for Nicaragua’s future that is shared by the majority of the population, provides for their inclusion in the economy, and also generates a path of economic progress sufficient to pull them out of poverty. There is broad consensus that more secure rights to land and water, sustainable approaches to utilization of Nicaragua’s abundant natural resources, and a structure of democratic governance that ensures fair and equitable outcomes for the population as a whole are all needed to realize this vision. Donors and international organizations can help to support this vision, but only the political leaders of Nicaragua can develop the policies and institutions that will make its achievement possible. 

Source

Indicators

Total spending for agricultural reserch measured measured as a share of the value added from agriculture, forestry and fishing activities

Measurement unit
Percentage

Distribution of agricultural holders by sex (female - Share %) according to the FAO Land and Gender Database.

Measurement unit
Percentage

GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP). PPP GDP is gross domestic product converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates.

Measurement unit
PPP$ 2011

Land area is the total area (1'000 Ha) of the country excluding area under inland water bodies.

Measurement unit
1'000 Ha

Total funding for programmes still ongoing in January 2016 (US $).

Measurement unit
US$ (Current)

Total number of programmes still ongoing in January 2016

Measurement unit
Number

Total population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country

Measurement unit
Number

Rural population refers to the share (%) of people living in rural areas as defined by national statistical offices. It is calculated as the ratio between Urban Population and Total Population.

Measurement unit
Percentage

Mapping

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Total population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country

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Total population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country

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Arable land (1'000 Ha) is the land under temporary agricultural crops (multiple-cropped areas are counted only once), temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens

Measurement unit
1'000 Ha

It measures the area (1'000 Ha) covered by forest.

Measurement unit
1'000 Ha

Land area is the total area (1'000 Ha) of the country excluding area under inland water bodies.

Permanent crops (1'000 Ha) - land cultivated with long-term crops which do not have to be replanted for several years (such as cocoa and coffee); land under trees and shrubs producing flowers, such

Measurement unit
1000 Ha

Permanent meadows and pastures - land used permanently (five years or more) to grow herbaceous forage crops, either cultivated or growing wild (wild prairie or grazing land).

Measurement unit
1000 Ha

Infographics

Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT)


Legend: National laws adoption of the VGGT principle
  • Fully adopt
  • Partially adopt
  • Not adopted
  • Missing Value

Note: The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (The VGGTs) were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in 2012.

The "VGGT indicators" dataset has been created by Nicholas K. Tagliarino, PhD Candidate at the University of Groningen, with support from Daniel Babare and Myat Noe (LLB Students, University of Groningen). The indicators assess national laws in 50 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America against international standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement as established by Section 16 of the VGGTs.

Each indicator relates to a principle established in section 16 of the VGGTs. Hold the mouse against the small "i" button above for a more detailed explanation of the indicator.

Answering the questions posed by these indicators entails analyzing a broad range of national-level laws, including national constitutions, land acquisition acts, land acts, community land acts, agricultural land acts, land use regulations, and some court decisions.

Disclaimer: The data displayed on the Land Portal is provided by third parties indicated as the data source or as the data provider. The Land Portal team is constantly working to ensure the highest possible standard of data quality and accuracy, yet the data is by its nature approximate and will contain some inaccuracies. The data may contain errors introduced by the data provider(s) and/or by the Land Portal team. In addition, this page allows you to compare data from different sources, but not all indicators are necessarily statistically comparable. The Land Portal Foundation (A) expressly disclaims the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any data and (B) shall not be liable for any errors, omissions or other defects in, delays or interruptions in such data, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Neither the Land Portal Foundation nor any of its data providers will be liable for any damages relating to your use of the data provided herein.

Media

Latest News

24 March 2017
Honduras
Macedonia
Nicaragua
Vietnam
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Only 30% of the world’s population has a legally registered title to their land.
  • As discussed at the Land and Poverty Conference 2017, secure land rights are important for reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity at the country, community, and family levels.
  • The World Bank supports countries to secure land rights for their populations, especially women, Indigenous Peoples, and other vulnerable groups.

27 January 2017
Nicaragua

By:Malva Izquierdo

Date: 27 January 2017

Source: Reuters

Three decades after Nicaragua launched the first of many reforms aimed at giving women equal land rights, experts say rural women remain exploited and open to disinheritance, violence and abuse.

Many women are locked out of land - first by a father then by a husband - while others say they are treated worse than the animals they tend. Yet all this was supposed to end decades ago.

Nicaragua

From the Nicaragua Center for Community Action (Nicca)

Date: 25 September 2016

Source: Havana Times

 

The Rama-Kriol peoples, a small, indigenous group living on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua, are among some of the most vulnerable people in the world. They live in fear of loss of their land and cultural identity and of an uncertain future because they are in the path of a proposed mega-project—the Nicaragua Trans-Oceanic Canal, a potential environmental and economic disaster.

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By: Paola Totaro
Date: August 9th 2016
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

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Displaying 1 - 6 of 331
Reports & Research
June 2017
Latin America and the Caribbean
Costa Rica
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Nicaragua
Panama
Argentina
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Paraguay
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Uruguay
Venezuela

Es una realidad que hay contradicciones en cuanto al manejo y la tenencia de la tierra en América Latina, siendo una situación importante que impacta en las economías locales y en la vida de millones de personas. Aunque en las últimas dos décadas la mayoría de los países latinoamericanos han implementado en su legislación medidas para promover el acceso y derecho de la mujer a la tierra, siguen existiendo limitaciones que no han permitido un mayor avance hacia la equidad en la distribución de la tierra.

Reports & Research
Policy Papers & Briefs
May 2017
Nicaragua
Latin America and the Caribbean

There have been few efforts to evaluate whether the positive land use changes induced by conservation interventions such as Payments for Environmental Services (PES) persist once the interventions end. Since gains achieved by conservation interventions may be lost upon termination of the program, even apparently successful interventions may not result in longterm conservation benefits, a problem known as that of permanence. This paper examines the permanence of land use changes induced by a short-term PES program implemented between 2003 and 2008 in Matiguas-Rio Blanco, Nicaragua.

Journal Articles & Books
May 2017
Central America
Guatemala
Honduras
Nicaragua

A growing body of evidence suggests that criminal activities associated with drug trafficking networks are a progressively important driver of forest loss in Central America. However, the scale at which drug trafficking represents a driver of forest loss is not presently known. We estimated the degree to which narcotics trafficking may contribute to forest loss using an unsupervised spatial clustering of 15 spatial and temporal forest loss patch metrics developed from global forest change data.

Other legal document
April 2017
Nicaragua
Tres comunidades del pueblo indígena Mozonte y una comunidad del pueblo indígena Telpaneca implementaron planes de innovación orientados a mejorar la situación de la tenencia de la tierra, concebidos y facilitados por la Unión Nacional de Agricultores y Ganaderos (UNAG).
 
Organización: ILC, Procasur, Unag
Securing Forest Tenure Rights for Rural Development: Lessons from Six Countries in Latin America cover image
Journal Articles & Books
March 2017
Latin America and the Caribbean
El Salvador
Honduras
Nicaragua
Argentina
Colombia
Peru

Secure land tenure in rural landscapes is widely recognized as an essential foundation for achieving a range of economic development goals. However, forest areas in low and middle-income countries face particular challenges in strengthening the security of land and resource tenure. Forest peoples are often among the poorest and most politically marginalized communities in their national contexts, and their tenure systems are often based on customary, collective rights that have insufficient formal legal protection.

Conference Papers & Reports
December 2016
Kenya
Nicaragua

Tropentag, September 18-21, 2016, Vienna, Austria

“Solidarity in a competing world —

fair use of resources”

Prosperity Prospects in Contested Forest Areas: Evidence from

Community Forestry Development in Guatemala and Nicaragua

Dietmar Stoian

1

, Aldo Rodas

2

, Jessenia Arguello

3

1

Bioversity International, Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems Initiative, France

2

Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Guatemala, Natural Resources and Agrotourism,

3