6.4.1 Markets for Land Ownership Rights

In most countries, land markets are very modest. Whoever owns land tries to keep it, at least within the family. Whenever transfer is effected, this usually takes place in the form of inheritance or exchange. An important factor which is responsible for this, here, is the extremely high price of land which is far beyond any economic profitability of the land used for cultivation. This is due to a number of reasons: the limited availability of land, the high cultural value attached to land and to particular plots of land (temples), speculation; the need to construct houses for the children, the non-agriculturists' interest in purchasing land, etc.

In areas.where economic development is progressing, there are indications that land transfers are increasing in the market as a result of the declining importance of agriculture and the phasing out of part of the farming population, usually with the change of generations. As a preparatory measure to cope with this, land market regulations slowly emerge, however, they are not as numerous as is necessary. They involve registration procedures for purchase, sale, inheritance, mortgage, lease, donation and especially for the conditions of transferring agricultural land for non-agricultural use.

A prerequisite is a clear record of ownership, for which most countries organize land measurement and cadaster, which constitute lengthy and expensive undertakings if they do not already exist. Even then, they are often not up to date because the peasants do not have changes registered to avoid paying fees or to leave the actual situation unclear in anticipation of reform measures.