Call edition 2012

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Land inheritance rules in the Andean communities (Peru)

Tatiana GOETGHEBUER student laureate
tatiana.goetghebuer@fundp.ac.be

°1977 Belgium
Master’s in economics, Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix, Namur, Belgium, 2002

Règles d’Héritage de la Terre dans les Communautés Andines (Pérou)

Access to farmland is vital for the survival of a large part of the population in developing countries. In her dissertation, the author has initiated a better, scientifically based understanding of the mechanisms that regulate the transfer of land use rights between parents and children over time and in various agro-ecological zones in traditional communities in Southern Peru.
Thanks to her openness to other cultures and people with a completely different way of life, she succeeded in becoming included in the everyday life of the three selected communities, enabling her to ask the right people the right questions in the right way. With considerable dedication, precision and determination, the author has succeeded in gathering sufficiently reliable data to describe the customs regarding the transfer of the right to use common land before and after the death of the parents.
The data shows that the basic principle that every child has equal rights in the distribution of the right to use common land is gradually getting under pressure.
The possible influence of various factors, such as distance from larger urban centres, migration, the educational level of the children, the fertility of the soil, the sex of the children and the growing trend in favour of de facto privatisation of common land has been rigorously analysed, and provides a number of indications regarding the causes of the frequent incidence of unequal distribution among the children.
The study contains indications suggesting that, increasingly, a distinction is being made between the children who stay in the community and those who go to the city, and that girls are, over time and as a result of changes in Peruvian society, being treated less fairly.
Further research ought to be made possible to either provide scientific confirmation on a larger scale of the points established in this study, or to negate them. Indeed, the timely recognition of changes in inheritance practices is crucial for policy makers in developing countries.

report by Mrs Renata Vandeputte, Strategy Environment and Sustainable Development, Belgian Development Cooperation, Brussels, Belgium