According to the Executive Secretary of Brazil’s Ministry of Agrarian Development, Guilherme Cassel, the government has been working to meet the demands of the march of the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST).
“We inherited unstructured settlements, with no production capacity. It is a difficult plan, but some of the demands, such as the credit line, technical support, and education for settled families, are already being executed by the government,” Cassel affirmed in an interview to Rádio Nacional.
According to the secretary, in 2004 technical support was offered to 423 thousand families, which represents 78% of the total families that already have land.
“Our objective in 2005 is to extend this support, so that families may produce and live on this production.”
Regarding the line of credit, the Lula government has already assigned more than US$ 400 million (1 billion reais) to settlements, he said.
“These are measures that aim not only at the quantity, but also at the quality of the reform. To give land is only the first step. Families need basic production conditions as well.”
The government’s goal for 2005 is to settle 115 thousand families. The secretary said that, according to a research performed by the Ministry in 2004, settled families with basic production conditions reach a high productivity level.
“In these areas we find the highest levels of food production in the country.”
Cassel said that the agrarian reform has been a fundamental issue for the progress of developed countries, and that it is not “reasonable” for Brazil, in the beginning of the 21st century, to remain one of the countries with the highest concentration of large landholdings in the world.