Land policies and particularly land reform have gained, lost and regained prominence in development strategies and debates since the Second World War. Land is an important topic in development theories and debates, and a major arena of rural social and political movements and agrarian conf lict. In the early history of development thought it was widely recognized that, because of the predominance of agricultural production and employment in developing economies, access to land is crucial to poor people’s capacity to construct viable livelihoods and overcome rural poverty. It was also widely understood that existing land tenure systems are often obstacles to improving farm productivity, and that landholding and power are intimately related in poor agrarian economies (Warriner 1969; Lipton 2010). Contemporary debates centre on redistributive versus ‘market-led’ agrarian reforms, gender and generational issues in land policy, the contemporary corporate ‘land rush’, and new ideas of food and land sovereignty driving today’s agrarian movements.