Are tenancy land markets equitable? A review of the “farmer selection dynamics” in Algeria

The significant development of the commodification of agricultural land in developing countries these last decades, notably through tenancy practices, raises serious questions about the equity of its redistribution. Studies on the equity of land markets show contradictory findings. By analyzing the rental market in the large irrigated perimeter of Guelma, northeast Algeria, this article contributes to this debate by answering the following research question: are tenancy land markets equitable? To answer this question, we essentially surveyed a quarter of the landowners in the main agricultural zone of the perimeter (52/208) and the direct tenants of the surveyed assignors (30) in 2020. We found that in the irrigated perimeter of Guelma, the rental land market has led to (1) the exclusion from the production system of landowners with few resources and unable to provide the necessary means for cash crops that have technically considerably evolved, and (2) the spatial exclusion from good lands of small tenants, relatively inefficient and unable to keep up with large tenants in the level of their rental offer. We refer to this general dynamic as “farmer selection”.