Peruvian President Announces Nation’s “Second Agrarian Reform”

By Nodal on October 4, 2021

photo: EPA/Paolo Aguilar

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo announced this week the creation of a new Cabinet on Agrarian Development and a set of direct support actions for family farmers within a larger framework he called Peru’s “second agrarian reform”Speaking from the Sacsayhuaman Sanctuary in Cusco, Castillo explained that the nation’s new agrarian reform would have five working axes of development which, he assured, does not include the expropriation of land or affects on anyone’s property rights.

“We propose to change the way of governing so that our State puts itself at the service of family farmers who have been relegated for decades, government after government. That ends today,” he said.

President Castillo went on to detail the first measure of Peru’s “second agrarian reform” – the creation of an Agrarian and Rural Development Cabinet which he will preside over and which will be formed by the Ministries of Production, Infrastructure and Social Development in addition to the participation of representatives of regional and local governments. This cabinet will design and promote policies for rural and agrarian development across the country.

As a second measure, the President announced a series of direct and immediate support policies for family farmers currently living through a severe crisis due to the pandemic and the rising cost of production inputs. He noted that despite the country’s productive capacity and diversity, many years of neglect have made Peru highly dependent on imports of agricultural inputs and foodstuffs, which, he affirmed, must come to an end.

For this to work, he announced adjustments will be made to pricing in the coming weeks in order to protect domestic production from unfair competition by subsidized products imported from abroad. In addition, a direct support program will be launched to help small farmers access agricultural inputs such as fertilizers which have seen recent price increases.

Castillo questioned the fact that Peru is the only country on the Pacific Coast with phosphates that are exported as raw materials so that other nations produce fertilizers which the country later imports for agricultural use.

“That is why we have initiated studies to install a fertilizer production plant based on the Bayovar phosphates that we have in Piura. In my government we will have a fertilizer plant. We will even become exporters of phosphate fertilizers in the region,” he said.

The third line of action of the agrarian reform is aimed at providing fairer access to markets, with better prices. In this regard, he said that an ambitious program of public purchases of food for family agriculture is being promoted with the Ministries of Development and Social Inclusion and Agricultural Development and Irrigation.

He estimated that in the next 12 months, food purchases for 300 million soles (72 million USD) will be made for social programs. “We will also invest public resources for the construction of product markets in all provinces of the country articulating a network of modern markets,” he said.

The fourth axis, Castillo detailed, is the protection and care of water resources. To this end, a water planting and harvesting program will be implemented, including the construction of hundreds of lakes and micro reservoirs in Peru’s Andean watersheds.

“Without water there is no agriculture and without agriculture there is no food (…) water is scarce and we have to learn to use it efficiently (…) we will promote a massive irrigation technification program nationwide,” he said.

In this regard, President Castillo pointed out that there is a law for the improvement of agrarian cooperatives recently signed into law by his government.

“I want to announce that all tax benefits for cooperatives will be applicable to peasant and native communities. We recognize them not only as social organizations but also as productive and entrepreneurial organizations with full economic rights,” he said.

Another of the measures to be promoted by the Government within the framework of the Second Agrarian Reform is a rural women’s fund which will make it possible to deploy various technical, business and social support programs for the more than 700,000 women agricultural producers throughout the country.

Source: Nodal, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English