The National Conference on Land and Water (Conferência Nacional Terra e Àgua) which is taking place in Brasilia is being attended by 10,000 participants. However, a dispute over the government’s land reform targets for this year has arisen and taken the spotlight.
The president of the government’s Land Reform Institute (Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária) (Incra), Holf Hackbart, commemorated the fact that so far in 2003 and 2004, a total of 106,000 families have received homesteads.
But social movement groups claim that it will be difficult for the target of 115,000 settled families to be reached by the end of the year.
Hackbart says the numbers show that Incra is doing its job efficiently.
He went on to say that the real test will be whether or not the government will be able to reach its target of settling 400,000 families by the end of the Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva administration’s term in 2006.
Organizations engaged in social activities dispute the Incra numbers.
The Landless Rural Worker Movement (MST) says that the government has to “change its economic policies and release more funding for the Ministry of Agrarian Development [where Incra is housed] if they want to reach their targets and settle families camped out around the country waiting for land.”
Translator: Allen Bennett