Under pressure, the government launches a program to speed up agrarian reform and says it aims for 'peace in the countryside'

Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Info Source: 
Cristiane Sampaio | Brasil de Fato | Brasília (DF) | Edited by: Thalita Pires | Original URL: https://www.brasildefato.com.br/2024/04/16/under-pressure-the-government-launches-a-program-to-speed-up-agrarian-reform-and-says-it-aims-for-peace-in-the-country

Worker´s association demands a bigger budget and 'debate in the Legislature' to increase funds in the area

After rural leaders demanded changes in agrarian reform and pointed out its slowness, the federal government presented on Monday (April 15) a program that sought to give greater agility to policy actions. Named Terra da Gente, the program will systematize the areas available in the country to be included in the National Agrarian Reform Program (PNRA).  

According to the administration, the idea is also to insert 295 thousand families into the PNRA by 2026, the last year of the government, with 74 thousand of them settled, and 221 thousand recognized or regularized in many existing settlements. The government, however, has not yet detailed the meaning of these categories.

The announcement occurred on the day of the most extraordinary mobilization of Red April, a national struggle journey that the MST annually organizes in the month in which, in 1996, the Massacre of Eldorado do Carajás took place. This year, the motto of the journey is "Occupy to feed Brazil."  

According to the Minister of Agrarian Development, Paulo Teixeira, of 295 thousand families, 73.2 thousand will be included in the program this year, 81 thousand in 2025, and the rest in the following year. The numbers represent an increase of 877% in the policy compared to the period between 2017 and 2022 when actions aimed at the segment were dismantled and paralyzed.

"It is a very expressive change in the treatment of the theme of agrarian reform in Brazil," said the Workers’ Party (also known as PT) member, announcing that 7 thousand families should access lands through the National Land Credit Program.  

The program was officially recognized through a decree signed by President Lula that ordered different forms of obtaining and allocating land. These include areas already acquired, lots in the process of acquisition lands liable for adjudication due to debts with the Union, and unproductive properties. The goal is to organize a map detailing the location and situation of each of these areas.  

According to the administration's numbers, BRL 520 million (about US$ 100 million) will be invested this year in property acquisitions, which should reach 73 thousand families. "We must give these people the right to access credit, what is more profitable, and what is not. We want the multifunctionality of the land so that we can extract from a plot everything that we can produce," affirmed President Lula.  

The president also signed acts that transferred to the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra), an area acquired by the Union through debt negotiation processes, which will generate nine settlements aimed at agrarian reform.  

"For us, this policy is critical. We women, for example, account for 45% of the production [of family farming], but we have difficulties with several things, such as access to land, technical assistance, and credit. Even though we produce a significant amount of food in rural areas, the situation is this: Hence, the launch of this program and today's actions bring us hope for progress", said Brasil de Fato, the secretary of Women of the National Confederation of Agricultural Workers (Contag), Mazé Morais.


Brazil's deficit in agrarian reform policy has been the main problem voiced by rural civil entities throughout history. The Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), the most emblematic organization of the sector, has about 71 thousand families camped waiting for a settlement for food production.  

"That was the number we had until yesterday [Sunday], but today, with our journey of struggles, it must have already exceeded 80 thousand. We still do not have the official data. However, there have been 24 occupations so far, so we estimate that this number can still increase quite a bit during this week," calculates the leader Ceres Hadich, who is part of the movement's national coordination, when mentioning the mobilizations of Red April.  

In Contag, the current deficit is about 50,000 families waiting for inclusion in the PNRA. During Monday's event, the entity's president, Aristides dos Santos, praised the government's initiative to launch Terra da Gente but demanded intensive articulation around the group's agenda, including in the National Congress.  

"The Brazilian state, not to mention Brazilian society, has a huge debt to the peoples of the fields, forests, and waters. We know that the government inherited a broken Incra, so we recognize the initiative and must face this issue with great importance. With the support of social movements, the government can have a debate in the Legislature so that laws do not prevent the struggle for land and agrarian reform. Without agrarian reform, there is no democracy or development in the countryside."

In a conversation with Brasil de Fato, Santos expressed concern about the conservatism of Congress, which is predominantly dominated by parliamentarians from the ruralist bench and allies. "But the problem of the Legislature is also budget. When it comes to land acquisition and agrarian reform, things get tough. We understand that Lula has the political authority to have this debate with the National Congress. Announced numbers and invested values are things that we have to work on," he said, stating that the entity expects a larger budget for the agrarian reform policy. The leader considers the current values "still very low."


According to government representatives during the event, the administration hopes, with more incredible speed of the PNRA, to help promote "peace in the countryside." Minister Paulo Teixeira highlighted that, between 2017 and 2023, 780 conflicts related to the struggle for agrarian reform were registered in Brazil. Popular leaders also remembered the subject on Monday. Ceres Hadich said that the MST sees the agricultural reform policy as essential in combating violence in rural areas.

"It is essential to mediate land conflicts and solving the problem. Suppose the government wants a pacification process and wants to address the issue of hunger in the country. In that case, we will undoubtedly need to address, this year and next, the issue of this absurd agrarian concentration that we still have in Brazil."