Zambia is a largely rural country with low incomes, with, 34% of the total land is used for agriculture and 57% as forests.  Approximately 60% of the population in Zambia is rural, and poverty is mostly widespread in rural areas. Agricultural productivity is low, due in part to the weather and lack of infrastructure, as well as internal migration from rural to urban areas that are overpopulated access to basic services cannot be guaranteed.

While the constitution of Zambia recognizes and protects property rights, the state is entitled to expropriate land only in order to implement development plans. The Land Act of 1995 recognized two tenure system - customary tenure and leasehold rights to state land, and also restricts the authority of the state to sell land to foreigners. In 2009, the draft constitution established principles governing land tenure, equitable access to land and resources, land rights for women, land tenure security, sustainable management of resources, environmental protection and efficient mechanisms for dispute resolution.

Frequent reasons for land disputes include encroachment and boundaries, eviction by the government, land conversions and the increasing number of commercial farms.  Generally, local authorities have the power to settle land disputes in accordance with the existing hierarchical structure. 

Source of the narrative

Disclaimer: The data displayed on the Land Portal is provided by third parts 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.


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Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF)

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    • Very Good Practice
    • Good Practice
    • Weak Practice
    • Very Weak Practice
    • Missing Value

    Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure

    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. The indicators of this dataset assess national laws against Section 16 of the VGGT standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement.

    Each indicator relates to a principle established in the VGGTs.

    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.


    Latest News

    Zambian women part of group to climb Mt Kilimanjaro

    By: Linda Nyondo
    Date: September 21st 2016
    Source: Zambia Daily Mail

    A GROUP of African women including Zambians are next month expected to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to advocate for women’s land rights.

    Action Aid communications officer Hellen Mwale confirmed the development in a statement in Lusaka recently.

    Property rights and miracle trees: Growing climate-smart agriculture in Zambia

    By: Stephen Brooks
    04 December 2015

    Joseph Zulu never uses the term “climate-smart agriculture,” even as he proudly points out the fertilizer trees he planted between rows of crops on his field in Zambia’s eastern province. But whether he uses the term or not, Zulu is a wonderful example of how climate-smart agriculture can be incorporated into traditional farming environments.

    Land grabbing is on the increase

    Ordinary Zambians grapple with land grabbing

    Forced evictions of ordinary Zambians from their land have become rampant to pave way for development. Rights activists want to intervene and protect local people from land grabbers.

    Land grabbing is on the increase

    Due to Zambia's open door investment policy that encourages foreign direct investment it has come under criticism from land activists. Government has courted foreign investors by offering land and large tax breaks as incentives, but this has led to displacement of local people. The lucky few have been paid peanuts as compensation.

    Latest Blog

    The Sugar Rush in South Africa - land grabs, land rights, human rights, agriculture

    The sugar rush in southern Africa

    By Ian Scoones, Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, and the Director of the ESRC STEPS Centre at Sussex

    The expansion of sugar production in southern Africa has been dramatic. From its early beginnings in Natal to the huge commercial estates across the region established during the colonial era, new investments are being planned. The land rush in southern Africa is often a sugar rush, with the ‘white gold’ promising riches to governments, local elites and large corporates alike.



    Displaying 1 - 6 of 153

    The Dynamics Of Land Deals in Africa

    Looking at several large-scale land deals in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, this extraordinary documentary highlights the nuanced impacts of these investments. Small-scale farmers and producers, national government officials, and African policy-makers unpack the deals, showing that there are winners and losers when providing investors access to large tracts of land in Africa. For example, land deals impact differently on women and youth, and altering land regimes also impacts on access to other natural resources such as water, fish, and local indigenous vegetables.

    Resource information

    February 2017

    Developing Zambia's agriculture: a hard road to hoe

    Zambia’s small-scale farmers are even poorer today than they were 40 years ago. According to the 2010 Human Development Report, Zambia is one of just three nations whose development has fallen behind 1970 levels. And yet Zambia is one of Africa’s “lion states” with annual economic growth rates of more than 5 percent. It is not easy to explain such a contradiction, but a DIE study is drawing closer to ? nding an answer.

    Resource information

    March 2011

    Food security and poverty mitigation through smallholder dairy – the Zambian case

    Supporting smallholder farmers is one of the best ways to fight poverty and ensure food security. Such support involving the active participation of smallholder farmers in Zambia has demonstrated a significant increase in farmers’ engagement in general and an improvement in milk production, resulting in nutritional food security both at household and national level and income for the poor farmers.

    Resource information

    November 2014