The official numbers are in: this year, Brazil’s National Agrarian Reform Institute (INCRA) settled 117,500 families of Brazilian landless farm workers. According to INCRA president Rolf Hackbart, this represents an historical record.
"These data show that agrarian reform is not paralyzed. INCRA has never settled so many families in a single year. The 115,000 target has already been achieved and surpassed," Hackbart affirmed.
The Minister of Agrarian Development, Miguel Rossetto, said he believes that Lula’s Administration will reach the goal of settling 400,000 families by the end of next year.
"With the hiring of 1,300 new employees, selected by means of civil service exams, budget improvements, and the upgrading of productivity indices, we shall surely attain all of our goals by the end of next year," Rossetto declared.
Since 2003 INCRA has settled around 235,000 families, more than 90% of the goal set forth in the National Agrarian Reform Plan. In the 32 years of the Institute’s existence, 540,000 families have been given access to land.
"In three years we have accomplished 35% of all that INCRA has managed to do throughout its history, which shows that agrarian reform is an ongoing reality," the Minister emphasized.
Rossetto also underscored the record number of families that received technical assistance. "Two items that make us enthusiastic and bode well for 2006: technical assistance for 450,700 families and the hiring of 4,500 professionals all over Brazil to provide assistance," he disclosed.
Hackbart informed that INCRA’s budget in 2005 amounted to US$ 1.5 billion (3.5 billion reais). "We shall have implemented between 96% and 98% of the budget on December 30. In the area of property acquisitions, [we applied] 100% of the resources we were allocated," he added.
"We shall have to obtain supplementary funds, but we are already entering 2006 with a budget of US$ 643 million (1.5 billion reais) for land acquisitions. We are starting the year with the total we spent in 2005, including budget supplements. That is very good," Rossetto observed.
According to the president of INCRA, the North was the region with the largest number of settlements. In Pará alone, the state with the largest number of land disputes and related deaths, around 13,000 families received land.
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