Types of Land Ownership

April 21, 2010Rural Developmentby EconomyWatch


Different Types of Land Ownership exists in the world. The types of land ownerships are determined by various factors like the cultural, social, political and economic factors. These systems are not stagnant instead they continue to change with the change in time.

The Types of Land Ownership

The types of land ownership are:

  • State Ownership of Land- This system enables the state to be the owner of the land. The land which the state owns comes under its supervision through various methods. Annexation of land during battles, purchasing of land by someone, giving land as a gift to someone, the seizure of land by the government due to certain reasons are the various ways by which a piece of land comes under the ownership of the state. The USSR was the biggest example until few days back when it practiced socialism and most of the land was state owned. Though in other socialist countries state owned half of the land. On one hand the state ownership of land is a good practice since it minimizes the discrepancy in the distribution of land. Private ownership of land leads to the uneven distribution of land. But the state ownership fills up this gap. Even the land which is of no use to the people can be transfered to the government's stock. The state owned banks are some times leased out to the tenants and in other times the state government indulges in farming the land.
  • Land Grants- This system is practiced mainly in the countries with Muslim population. The government in those countries donate land for the purpose of education and setting up religious institutions. These kind of grants are known as “waqf” in the Muslim countries. The donated land is mostly used in constructing mosques, madrasa and orphanages for the inhabitants of those countries. Usually the government of that country bears all the costs regarding the land and the beneficiary receives an irrevocable piece of land. The profit is obtained by the institution that is established on the land. The land which is gifted is often in a very bad condition. The irrevocable nature of the grant prevents eventual property loss and transfer of ownership.
  • Communal and Collective Ownership- This kind of ownership empowers a community or a political group to utilize the land. This system is randomly practiced in South Africa where the land ownership belongs to an African tribe. The chief of that tribe allots some amount of land to every member of the community and that member receives the land for the whole of his life. In Mexico also this kind of ownership is practiced. There is a little difference in the system because in Mexico people inherit land. Private ownership results in the loss of property on the part of the poor people hence, in the countries which had adopted the socialist doctrine collectivization of land was in vogue.
  • Private Ownership of Land- In democratic counties this method of land ownership is followed. The right of land disposition is in private hands. This system was introduced by the colonial rulers in most of the colonies so that the rulers could garner benefits and render the poor people helpless. Private ownership has lots of disadvantages involved in it. This is basically a flawed system which caused the poor to become poorer because of the uneven distribution of land.
  • Private ownership has two classifications according to the amount of land available to people. They are:
    • Small land holding is usually the plot of land which belongs to a particular family and it practices farming on that land and produces the amount which is required to sustain themselves
    • Large Land holding is usually a plot of land which is rented out by the owner to several farmers who till the land and produce crops. Those farmers pay rent to the owners.
    • Farm Tenancy is yet another method which is commonly practiced in the name of land ownership. In countries which are densely populated it has been noted that the rate of unemployment is high. In such a condition a person who has enough land to be cultivated lends it to other people for a given period of time. Farm tenancy can be classified on the basis of the payment demanded by the owner. The classifications are, occupational tenancy, cash tenancy and share tenancy.
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  • State Ownership of Land
  • Collective and Communal Ownership of Land
  • Private Ownership of Land
  • Farm Tenancy
  • Land Grants
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