Brazil’s Minister of Agrarian Development, Miguel Rossetto, says that among the agreements reached during the National March for Agrarian Reform, in May of this year, the only item that has yet to be resolved is the modification of productivity indices, which have remained unchanged since 1975.
These indices establish production minimums for agricultural properties to be classified as productive and thus unavailable for land reform.
Rossetto affirms that the indices have not kept up with the country’s agricultural development in recent decades and need to be altered.
"Otherwise, we are rewarding people who don’t work. We want to recognize those who work, and they constitute the great majority, but we cannot continue to operate with indices that are so outdated."
According to the Minister, the Presidential Advisory Staff is analyzing a proposal to revise the productivity indices. "My expectation is for this question to be resolved shortly. All the other issues have already been dealt with, definitions have been reached, and they are in effect," he said.
The ministry submitted the updated indices in April of this year, but, in order to be put in practice, they need to be approved by the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) is demanding that the land productivity indices be revised and that funds be made available for the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra) and the Ministry of Agrarian Development to implement land reform.
Since Monday, September 26, the MST has been occupying Incra headquarters in various states and is insisting on the implementation of four other agreements arranged with the federal government: settlement of 400 thousand families by next year; a special line of credit for settlement farmers; distribution of resources for agro-industries in the settlements; and monthly food baskets for people camped out waiting to be assigned to settlements.
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