Updated Jul 10, 2019

Women's irrigation land trust

Part of University of California, Davis

Land held in trust for women irrigators to obtain individual plots.


Abraham Salomon

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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

We have tested this innovation successfully in two sites in Eastern Uganda, and it can be replicated in more irrigation sites throughout the country and region.

Focus Areas:

Water Management and Land Tenure

Water Management and Land TenureSEE LESS

Implemented In:



Country Implemented In
Verified Funding


Women lack access to land in irrigable areas. Most women in Uganda access plots through family members or renting land. Renting land often requires payment for longer intervals and for larger areas than many women can afford. Landlords are also often not flexible in the allowing gradual payments and change the terms of rent routinely.



This system helps women rent plots of land they can afford by organizing a long term rent or purchase of a plot of land that is held for women to subscribe to smaller plots within it. The land trust allocates plots to members, who are exclusively or majority women. Women make contributions at once or throughout the year, and for a set fee or variable cost depending on the plot size, depending on the preferences of members.

Target Beneficiaries

Women smallholder farmers

Mission and Vision

Greater land access for women farmers to use for irrigation, and greater control over the plots they work on.

Innovation Description

This innovation first identifies the women in the area interested in forming the land trust. These women then identify potential plots that can be rented in an irrigable area, and approaches the landlord to discuss how to set up a long term rental agreement. The members agree with the landlord about how much rent to pay, and when these payments are due. Based on this members set up a set of bylaws indicating how individual members will pay either in installments or in lump sums to obtain a plot. Plots may be allocated of equal size or depending on how much each member can pay. Usually this is accompanied by a weekly savings program. Once the money is raised, they pay the landlord and get written documentation of the agreement. Members may then be added or subtracted from the scheme once it is underway. A startup period of rent may be paid by an agricultural program to be recouped by the group's savings in order to quickly start the process.

Competitive Advantage

This innovation addresses land tenure in a way that fits into farmers' existing set of institutions. It improves women's access to irrigable land by building social capital and trust with land owners.

Planned Goals and Milestones

We hope to see other programs or organizations adopt the system in irrigation projects.
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted53

The Team Behind the Innovation

Kate Scow- Professor of Soil Science and Microbial Ecology in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis Helen Acuku- Program Manager, Teso Womens Development Initiative. Betty Ikalany - Executive Director, Teso Womens Development Initiative. Abraham Salomon - Project manager of 'Innovations in Dry Season Horticulture' in Uganda.



Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In