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Some 92 farms expropriated in Brazil for land reform

30 december 2013, 09:57
Brazilian President Dilma Roussef. ©Reuters/Paulo Whitaker
Brazilian President Dilma Roussef. ©Reuters/Paulo Whitaker
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Friday signed a decree expropriating 92 farms which will be handed over to small farmers as part of the country's land reform, AFP reports.

In October, Rousseff had signed a similar decree covering eight big farms.

These decrees "bring to 100 the number of farms expropriated as part of land reform this year," or a total of 193,500 hectares (478,148 acres) in 16 of the country's 26 states.

The expropriated land will be turned over to 4,670 families of rural workers, the agriculture ministry said.

These small farmers will be able to use the land for cattle raising, dairy production, nursery and fruticulture.

The National Institute for Colonisation and Agrarian Reform (INCRA) is to pay the equivalent of $114 million in compensation to expropriated ranchers next year.

Brazil has one of the world's most uneven land distribution, with around 3.5 percent of landowners holding 56 percent of the arable land while the poorest 40 percent own barely one percent.

The pace of land reform came under recent criticism from Brazil's Landless Workers Movement (MST).

"It is the worst year for agrarian reform. To date, only 199 families have been resettled across the entire country. It is a shame," said Joao Paulo Rodrigues, a member of the MST national coordination.

Seen as the best organized social movement in Brazil, the MST, which was founded in 1984, campaigns for land reform and the rights of landless workers.

Earlier this year, it stepped up its mobilization and occupations of farms, demanding agrarian reform that guarantees access to land for millions of families. The MST has pressed the Rousseff government to find a solution for 150,000 landless families which it says live in camps.

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