The Colombian government advances in an agrarian reform with the delivery of one million hectares of land to peasants, indigenous communities, Afro-descendants and victims of the conflict who do not have property.
In Colombia, the possession and distribution of land has always occupied the central place in the history of the armed conflict. Hence, the first point of the 2016 peace accords between the now-defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government of then-President Juan Manuel Santos proposed an agrarian reform that would order the use and access to land.
Six years after the signing of the agreement, the reform never took place, but the leftist president, Gustavo Petro, has promised to comply with the agreements and move it forward.
“There is no food production without a farmer and without a farmer. Now there will be, precisely to defend life, the need to grow on land, which is becoming more and more depleted,” said the president at the National Campesino Convention of Colombia.
What mechanism have they used to carry out the reform?
One of the first steps that the government took in this matter was the announcement of the purchase of three million hectares of land in different regions of the country, in an agreement with the National Federation of Cattlemen (Fedegan).
In addition, the executive launched the use of the properties of origin of drug trafficking seized by the Special Assets Society (SAE), because in the country there are thousands of hectares of land in the process of extinction of domain and vacant land.
Within the legislative process of the reform is the creation of an Agrarian Jurisdiction, which will consist of a specialized group of judges who are specifically dedicated to addressing conflicts over agrarian property.
A budget will also be allocated to inputs that will be delivered to the most impoverished peasants, so that they can purchase these products and work the land.
“The agrarian reform starts from a very painful recognition. Colombia has one of the worst concentrations of land, not only in Latin America, but in the world. Redistributing the land to these sectors that have not had the possibility, many of them with properties that are absolutely unsustainable in economic terms, but doing it with highly productive land, which has been underutilized, has to generate not only a social change, but a great change. in terms of the sector’s ability to offer the production it can,” he told the voice of america the Minister of Agriculture, Cecilia López.
What do the peasants think?
Manuel Hernández, a Colombian farmer, told the VOA that all their hopes to continue living in the countryside as they have been doing for more than 20 years are pinned on this agrarian reform.
“We ask the government that the agrarian reform is effectively in accordance with the needs of the peasantry. What we need at this moment is for the government to see that we have little pieces of land that are on the rise and for rent and that is not enough for us,” said Hernández.
In this sense, Jorge Lozada, a peasant from Purificación, Tolima, in the center of the country, told the VOA that the reform has to go beyond handing over land and improving their living conditions with the provision of public goods and services such as health, education and roads.
“The different types of violence have displaced many peasants, corruption has stolen resources that should go to the agricultural sector. We have a deficit with the tertiary roads through which the food of the Colombian peasants should leave ”, he explained.
According to figures from the National Census, large tracts of land are held by 0.4% of the country’s population, which owns 46% of rural land, with an average of 500 hectares per piece of land.
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, calculated based on the Gini coefficient, which is based on agricultural censuses, the country is one of the most unequal in the distribution of productive land, since the closer to 1 a point at that value, the greater the inequality.
Lastly, the most recent report from the Truth Commission, the state body that emerged from the signing of peace with the FARC, stated in its final report that as a result of the armed conflict, 8 million hectares were taken from their lands. possessors violently.
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