Nepal's tenant farmers find hope as they claim land of their own

    by Rina Chandran, Thomson Reuters Foundation
    Thursday, 11 August 2016 14:25 BST

Women are silhouetted as they sit under the shade of a tree in Lalitpur, Nepal October 27, 2015. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

While Nepal's Land Act of 1964 gave tenant farmers the right to own land and put a ceiling on landholdings, most agricultural land is in the hands of a few owners. Millions of lower-caste Dalit labourers and tenant farmers remain landless.

Landlessness and an abusive tenancy system helped fuel years of conflict in Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world.

It is estimated that 5 percent of the Himalayan nation's population owns more than 37 percent of the land. About a third are landless, with millions classified as semi-landless because their holdings are so small, rights group ActionAid Nepal says.

The end of 10 years of civil war in 2006 and the abolition of a 239-year-old feudal monarchy two years later raised hopes of reform. But laws guaranteeing ownership have been hamstrung by an entrenched social hierarchy, a rigid caste system and lack of political will, according to campaigners.

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