“Identification and management of khasland (state owned land) and water bodies, distribution of the same to the landless and poor people, retention of such land and water bodies by the landless, and pertinent rules and practices within the prevailing social-political context of Bangladesh constitute prime issues of agrarian reform”
- Dr Abul Barakat, Economists
Land – peasant – wealth are interrelated and interdependent categories. Together, land and peasantry form the basis of reproductive civilization and the foundation of “krishi culture” in Bangladesh. According to specialists, Bangladesh has 3.3 million acres of khasland and 6-7 million landless households. These extreme poor households suffer because of the inefficiency in khasland distribution. Research shows that if these extreme poor households are provided with 0.50 acres of khasland, they can climb out of poverty and manage sustainable livelihoods.
What is khasland?
Khasland or state-owned land is the land which the government is entitled to both lease and give away to citizens of the country who do not own land.
Khasland is considered an important livelihood source for the extreme poor and can generate and protect the gains made toward achieving sustainable livelihoods, particularly for those with low quality, under-sized and flood prone land. The strength and functionality of the relationships and networks that households build up are key to ensuring improved land productivity.
If all of the khasland in Bangladesh is distributed among the extreme poor and if they are supported to use the land productively, Bangladesh can make significant progress toward erradicating extreme poverty and meeting the goals of MDG 1. Current land policies are fairly adequate and may not require extensive reform, however the process of applying and attaining the land needs systematic improvement.
Discussion on khasland
High officials of Shiree partner NGOs who deal with khasland transfers, and donor agency, UKaid from the Department of International Development, participated in the roundtable discussion to share the challenges and opportunities in attaining and making productive use of khasland as a way out of poverty for the extreme poor (people earning less than 27 bdt per day).
To download the workshop report, click here.