History of agrarian reform dates back to the era of the Romans and Greeks. During this period, there was a lot of unrest between the landless as well as the landowners. Land reform occupied a vital place in the Gracchian agrarian laws. There are instances in history when there was wide unrest among the peasants, who demanded reforms in land. The Peasants' Revolt in 1381 and German Peasants' War in 1524 to 1526 are examples of the same.
With the Russian Revolution in 20th century, a new dimension was added to the agrarian reform. It followed socialized agriculture. In Socialized agriculture land is collectively owned, partially by state farming but primarily by collective farming under the jurisdiction of the state Once in power, Lenin, assigned all land under state property. This was in the year 1917. Peasants took over several landed property. Voluntary collectivization promoted by Lenin failed miserably. Communist rule prevailed in the Eastern European countries after the Second World War. When Communist rule fell in Eastern part of Europe during the period 1989 to 1990 and after Soviet Union disintegrated in the year 1991, efforts were being made to privatize the agricultural sector .
Due to Communist Revolution in the year 1949, small peasant cooperative bodies joined to form large communicates. All land was transferred to the peasants. These large communicates were abolished as they proved to be inefficient and stagnated agricultural production. By the year 1980, China returned land to individuals. This in turn promoted agriculture, which was market oriented.
In the densely populated Indian subcontinent, there has been marked unrest among the laborers for several reasons pertaining to land. The primary reasons for the turmoil were:
In Japan, agrarian reform struck roots during Meiji Restoration between 1868 to 1912. Supervision of land reform was done by the U.S Occupation Forces after the World War II. Due to this, approximately 80% of the land (tenanted) was handed over to the tenant cultivators from the landlords.
There was a lot of racial discrimination pertaining to land reform policies in South Africa. This discrimination was more pronounced in places like Namibia, Zimbabwe. A general trend observed in South Africa was that even though agrarian reform gained ground pretty late, that did not decrease the agricultural output. But it definitely led to frustration and agony on the part of agricultural workers.