Declining agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) increases the population’s vulnerability to food insecurity and poverty. The trend can be linked to climate change and the reduction in agricultural land. Sustainable utilization of land is therefore critical to meet the demand deficit. Historically, agricultural productivity has been a driver behind land reforms in Kenya. Despite this, implementation is still lagging. Past studies in SSA and Kenya have been inconclusive on the relationship between land registration and agricultural productivity. The inconsistency may be attributed to the methodologies used such as the Ricardian approach which implicitly incorporates adaptive behaviour in its analysis. Failure to account for farmers' psychological behaviour, endogeneity, unobservable heterogeneity, and spatial components further results in biased estimates and misleading conclusions. Cost-benefit models do not adequately capture the nuance in regions dominated by small-scale and subsistence farming such as Kenya. As such, the study incorporates different methodologies namely, socio-psychological models and agronomic models to add a critical layer of information for policymaking efficacy.
Using Tharaka Nithi County in Kenya as a case study, the research aims to establish if land registration creates tenure security for farmers and thus promotes agricultural productivity.