Tetra Tech is supporting economic growth and stability in low-income nations by improving the governance of land and resources, strengthening property rights, and building resilient livelihoods.

In the developing world, approximately 70 percent of land is unregistered, leaving hundreds of millions of households without secure land rights. Weak property rights, lack of knowledge about existing laws, and the inability to enforce existing rights all combine to limit stability and economic growth. Farmers and business owners—large and small—are forced to spend critical resources protecting their land.

Through the Integrated Land and Resource Governance (ILRG) program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Tetra Tech is helping to strengthen tenure security and formalize property rights in Zambia, Ghana, India, Liberia and Mozambique as well as supporting broader global learning. The program may expand to additional countries before its anticipated completion in 2023.

Through the ILRG program, Tetra Tech works with USAID missions around the world to design and implement activities that reduce resource-related conflicts; increase responsible economic opportunities; and mitigate environmental impacts. The program services include:

  • Supporting the development of inclusive land and property rights laws, and polices
  • Helping implement laws and policies, including clarifying, documenting, registering, and administering rights to land and resources
  • Increasing the capacity of local institutions to administer land and strengthen governance
  • Facilitating responsible land-based investment to optimize outcomes for communities and investors

By strengthening land and resource rights and governance, these activities yield outcomes that include improvement in resilience to extreme weather events; conflict prevention and mitigation; women’s economic empowerment; inclusive economic growth; increased agricultural productivity and food security; biodiversity conservation; and sustainable, natural resource management.

Tetra Tech’s work through the ILRG program strengthens policy and legal frameworks and targets technical interventions to remove tenure-related barriers. For example, in Zambia, the ILRG program helped the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources to amend comments on their draft Land Policy, while working with the Ministry of Local Governance to support district planning processes.

Through the ILRG program, Tetra Tech also works on capacity building for local stakeholders to administer and secure equitable land and resource governance. In Zambia and Mozambique, the ILRG team supports local civil society organizations to carry out community mapping, parcel delimitation, and community-based land administration. This work was closely coordinated with communities, local government officials, and, in Zambia, customary leaders.

By engaging with the private sector, civil society, government, and local communities, Tetra Tech is facilitating responsible land-based investment to optimize outcomes for communities, investors, and the public. In Mozambique, the ILRG program helps communities map and document their land rights so they are better prepared to make land use decisions and negotiate with the private sector. In Ghana, the ILRG program is partnering with private sector cocoa companies to identify a financially sustainable model for cocoa farm rehabilitation to ensure farmers’ continued productivity and sustainable livelihoods while reducing deforestation. In India, the ILRG program is helping Pepsi Co. and USAID assess how empowering women and improving land tenure and rights could increase yield, production, and smallholder incomes in the potato supply chain.


Cocoa plays a central role in the culture and economy of Ghana by creating jobs and a key source of export revenue. However, recent assessments from the Ghana Cocoa Board report that up to 40 percent of cocoa farms in the country experience declining productivity due to aging cocoa farmers, pests and diseases, poor shade management, and the need to replant. In 2016 Hershey and its cocoa supplier AgroEcom Ghana Ltd (ECOM) collaborated with USAID to better understand how to address the complex challenge of increasing cocoa productivity while reducing deforestation of smallholder cocoa farming.

The ILRG project will build on the work done through the pilot, collaborating with private sector partners to create sustainably financed farm rehabilitation and farm tenure strengthening models. ILRG will spend two growing seasons testing both the tenure security intervention and farm rehabilitation models through an integrated package across four communities. The program will evaluate models for cocoa companies to invest in these activities, with the goal of scaling up the program in subsequent growing seasons.