Photo: Robin Weeks

About LIFT


Mission statement

To lift rural households from poverty through catalysing land productivity, by securing land tenure and by improving farmers’ access to opportunities to invest in and improve their land.


Secure access to land is fundamental to the livelihoods of rural households. It provides a source of food and income through agricultural production, as well as shelter and protection from vulnerability to hunger and poverty. Competition for land often inflames tensions between different landholders. This, coupled with unreliable information on a household’s land holding, can result in conflict and a lack of incentive to invest in on-farm activities.

The LIFT approach

LIFT is a £72.7 million programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) that operates in four regions of Ethiopia: Amhara, Oromia, the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) and Tigray. LIFT is based on the principle that if landholders have security of tenure, then they are more likely to invest in their land and agricultural practices and improve the quality of their produce. As a result, their income will rise.

To achieve this, LIFT is supporting the Government of Ethiopia’s efforts on increasing rural land tenure security. This is done through land certification and developing improved rural land administration systems, to drive investment and increase productive land use. LIFT is unique in its approach as it also champions a market systems approach to catalyse household tenure security, leading to investment and improved land productivity and income. This is a first for a land reform programme on this scale.

LIFT employs four interrelated components in its mission of raising households from poverty, through tenure security and increased investment and productivity:


Component 1 – Securing tenure rights through second level land certification (SLLC)

LIFT aims to register 14 million parcels of land to secure 6.1 million households’ tenure in over 140 woredas (administrative districts). This is one of the largest land registration programmes in the world and makes LIFT a global leader in large-scale land registration.


Component 2 – Developing an improved rural land administration system to manage change in tenure (RLAS)

Land information quickly goes out of date as demographics change and household members acquire or relinquish land holdings. By implementing an improved rural land administration system and processes, LIFT aims to ensure that households can receive updated land certificates when they acquire new land, and that this record is maintained. This will guarantee that security of household tenure is maintained and the positive impact of SLLC is not lost over time.


Component 3 – Economic empowerment of certificate recipients to increase economic benefits of their land holdings (EE)

LIFT aims to catalyse the translation of improved tenure security into farmers becoming more willing to invest productively in their land. By reducing the barriers excluding households from investing in their livelihoods, LIFT aims to improve households’ access to finance and opportunities to securely rent in land – to increase agricultural production – or rent out land – as a source of income – as well as improving access to environmentally sustainable inputs.


Component 4 – Creating an enabling policy environment

Regulations, procedures, strategies and plans are key to improving the functioning of Ethiopia’s land sector as well as enabling the government to make informed decisions on land governance. LIFT aims to facilitate this through research projects and producing evidence-based policy briefs, strategies and recommendations.