Land consolidation and fragmentation : an evaluative case study
Land fragmentation is an important aspect of farm structure in many parts of the world. It generally results from population pressure and partible inheritance. Drawing from a wide range of countries the difficulties of operating a fragmented holding are investigated and the rationality of some fragmented farms noted. The process of land consolidation is examined, including a discussion of the empirical and theoretical results of consolidation programmes. 'Problem areas' of consolidation activities are then identified and this sets the scene for the presentation of a number of methodological approaches for the evaluation of land consolidation in Cyprus. Four different methods --- cartographic, behavioural, economic and social --- are outlined and a number of significant variables highlighted. The study area of Cyprus is then introduced, with particular attention focused on fragmentation data drawn from the 1946 and 1977 Agricultural Censuses. The main attempt to deal with fragmentation in Cyprus was the Land Consolidation Law of 1969. The objectives of the law are set out and the procedures for carrying out consolidation described. Some of the immediate changes brought about by consolidation are presented, based on official documentation. A more detailed evaluative study of the impact of consolidation for the five villages involved in the first phase of the consolidation programme was carried out using a questionnaire survey of 200 holders. Land-use surveys were also made of the consolidated village areas. The results suggest that land consolidation has done much to change the economic and social life of the affected communities although there were evident differences in the relative level of changes both within and between the five project villages. Difficulties with the Cypriot consolidation process are also identified, especially the refragmentation of consolidated land which threatens the viability of the whole programme. Finally, it pointed out that the general success of consolidation activities in Cyprus may act as a 'model' for other developing countries in the Mediterranean attempting to improve and modernize their land-holding structures.