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Stop Land Grabbing in the Philippines!

International Solidarity Statement Issued by La Via Campesina South East and East Asia

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_stories_agrarianreform_banner.jpg(Bangkok, March 6, 2014) La Via Campesina sends their solidarity and full support to the small-scale farmers struggling against land grabbing in Plaridel, Sumalo, Bulacan province, in Macabud, Rizal Province and in many part of Philippines.

Now the farmers in Culianin, in the town of Plaridel, in Bulacan province, are currently struggling against massive agricultural land conversions done by Vista Land Properties, owned by former Philippine Senator Manuel Villar. Named “Lumina Plaridel,” the housing project severely affected local farming livelihoods: damaging installed irrigation systems, causing flooding to nearby farms as well as disrupting farmers’ planting and harvesting routines in the area. So far, around 12.47 hectares of agriculturally viable land in Culianin are being converted, directly affecting as much as 85% of the entire community. Irrigated farmlands are being bulldozed, and farmers are constantly threatened with the destruction of their livelihoods. This was despite the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) prohibiting the land use conversion of all irrigated and irrigable lands.

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Land grabbing in Philippines

Report on the Solidarity Mission to Stop Land Grabbing

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_stories_agrarianreform_solidarity_missionscaled.jpg(Philippines, April 2013) Land grabbing is a political-economic issue that happens internationally and nationally, and has historically not only threatened food sovereignty but also people’s everyday life. Land grabbing as well as natural resources grabbing has been happening over a century, since Philipines’ colonization by the Spanish in 1500s. Since then lands were taken away from the local farmers and given to the catholic authorities, private companies and “big” rich families with ties to the Spanish colonial officials. Thus, the local farmers were deprived of their key livelihood source. Consequently, this made the issue of the redistribution of land and the broader Agrarian Reform urgent and a vital issue of concern to the Filipino farmers and PARAGOS. The establishment of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Agrarian Reform Special Account Fund in 1971 and the promulgation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) in 1988 were attempts to address the land issue. Under Marcos regime, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) was ratified as the land redistribution program. Under the CARL, both public lands and private agricultural lands were targeted for redistribution to the farmers. However, large tracts of land have not yet been allocated two decades after the implementation of the program. Moreover, some lands instead of being redistributed to the farmers have been privatized and titled, thus exempting them from the program. The Yulo Sugar Estate in Calamba is one such case among many others. The poor redistribution of land in the Philippines is thus a result of the nature of its colonial history and the inefficient implementation of Agrarian Reform (by DAR) in the last three decades.

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Brazil : Democratization of the state and political changes are challenges for Agrarian Reform

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_stories_agrarianreform_stedilecongress.jpg(Brazilia, February 11, 2014) After two years of intense debates, the rural workers arrived at the VI MST National Congress to consolidate a new agrarian program, called People's Agrarian Reform. 

This past Tuesday (11/02), João Pedro Stédile, of the National Coordination of the MST, and Guilherme Delgado, P.h.D in Economics (Unicamp), helped discuss the theme in more depth. 

“We did not make a classical Agrarian Reform, and that is not what I am going to talk about" said João Pedro Stédile, referring to the model of agrarian reform that was carried out since the 19th century in some capitalist countries, such as Germany and in the United States. These agrarian reform processes were under the political direction of the  industrial bourgeoisie which needed to enlarge the consumer market and to establish supplies of primary materials for industry.

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Eastern Germany : 'Land grabbing' pushes up prices

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_stories_agrarianreform_hands_off.jpg(January 26, 2014) Land prices in eastern Germany are rising at dizzying rates and local farmers feel they are being squeezed out by foreign investors in a phenomenon known as "land grabbing".

The price of a hectare of land has risen by 54 percent between 2009 and 2012 in Brandenburg state and by 79 percent in neighbouring Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, even if prices remain below those in the west of the country -- at least for now.

The rural east of Germany has vast swathes of arable land inherited from communist times, when farming was in the hands of huge collectives, known as LPGs.

But today the land is increasingly being snapped up by foreign investors, often with no background or interest in farming, pushing prices up and forcing out locals.

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