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Inter-regional Workshop on Strategies for agrarian reform and rural development after the cold war Gödöllö, Hungary, 9-13 April 1996

AGRICULTURE, THE RURAL ENVIRONMENT AND THE DEVELOPMENT GAP Prepared by Ricardo Abramovay

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the University of Agricultural Science, Gödöllö, Hungary

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Mr. R. Abramovay is assistant professor in the economics department, University of Sao Paolo, Brazil.

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I. INTRODUCTION In a reference book which has today become compulsory reading in Latin American social sciences, Fernando Fajnzylber (1987) divided the region into three sub-sets. In one group, are Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador with remarkable economic performance and a harsh concentration of income. At the other extreme are Argentina and Uruguay where wealth is distributed more fairly but growth is limited. The other nations (Bolivia and Peru for example) combine the worst of the other two with economic stagnation and persistent poverty. The absence of any significant historical experience with a system that balances fairness and growth has been responsible for this gap in Latin American development1. How can agriculture and the rural environment help to fill the gap? The aim of this text is to raise some of the main themes for consideration to help answer this question. First, information about demographics, economic trends and the past land system of large estates gives an overview of the particularities and the limits of agriculture in constructing a more integrated development model. Next, the theme of agrarian reform as a way of combating rural poverty shows how the so-called ““new wave”” in agrarian reform can expand, but not replace, the old reformist viewpoints. However, rural development policy cannot be reduced to agrarian reform. Recent studies on existing family farming perhaps offer the most important contribution for the creation of new paradigms for development in the countryside. Finally, it is illustrated that this family farming is not the same as ““small-scale production”” and that it can have fundamental social and economic roles in today's world. In particular, family farming may become the basis for building a civil society in the rural environment. It is clear that some of the questions and the examples raised here refer to Latin America as a whole. Nevertheless, the reader should be aware that the text is mainly centred on Brazil. II.

TOWARD A NEW MODEL OF AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT

Less than 30 years ago, one of the great international development specialists stated that under-developed countries are agrarian societies (Stavenhagen (1969), 1979:7). If this criterion were still valid, Latin America would already be a member of the rich countries' club. Globally, only one-fourth of Latin Americans were living in the countryside in 1995 compared to 58 percent in 1950. The vast majority of the population lives in small towns. In the comparative context of this workshop, it is important to stress two important aspects of this demographic situation. 1

The subject and this expression (ndt. the original expression was 'el casillero vazío' which literally means 'the empty pigeonhole') form part of the doctrinal corpus of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean-ECLAC. See in particular ECLAC, 1990.

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A) The demographic weight of the rural population in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa creates a situation where agriculture (including non-farming activities in the rural environment) is the pole around which a joint campaign can be organized for economic growth and against poverty (Abramavoy and Sachs, 1996). In this case, even if destitution strikes in these regions more violently than in our country, the road map with which the poor can join and benefit from the market economy can be drawn with some clarity. It is no coincidence that there is consensus among the international specialists working in these regions on two central points: - the potential output of the rural poor, if put to good use, may be the basis for a fairer agricultural development2. -the productive possibilities that the green revolution opens for the regions which until now have not been considered very suitable for agricultural development3. The fact that the poverty in these regions is found in the rural environment is perhaps a trump card rather than a handicap. In these cases, it seems possible that agricultural development (given that it tries to exploit the productive capacities which have been resting up to now) could be the basis for a system integrating growth and fairness. Many rural poor can become more successful as farmers and, in this way, become the key players in the market economy. This is why agriculture is of strategic importance in a perspective of growth with fairness, in particular in sub-Saharan Africa. B) The situation is quite different in Latin America. Our continent has undergone a massive and rapid process of deruralization without really becoming urbanized. A large percentage of those who left the countryside are now living in 'pre-towns' (Abramovoy and Sachs, 1996), without access to the basic conditions that characterize urban life - housing, health care, education, culture and, above all, employment. Most Latin American poverty is no longer in the rural environment (De Janvry and Sadoulet, 1993a:663). Agricultural development is obviously important but, in contrast to what is happening in sub-Saharan Africa, it cannot be the main thrust of a policy aiming to include the poor in economic life as a basis for their social emancipation for the simple reason that most poor people no longer live in the country, nor will they return there4. 2

The economic activities of the poor may be one of the essential bases for reducing poverty. The work of IFAD shows that a new development paradigm is forming around this idea (Jazairy et al., 1992:14), the economic justification of which can be summed up as follows: the gap between the potential and effective productivity of the rural poor is much wider than it is for the non-poor. 3 The most important recent contribution, in this sense, comes from the basic work of the CGIAR (1994:42) which noted that the recent association of ecology and the social sciences opens the door to new methods and - more importantly - to new attitudes to involve the farmers themselves in analyzing their farming systems and their ways of life. 4 Although in a recent survey in the Campina municipality

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The contradictory effects of reduced public intervention Today, state intervention in agricultural development is declining in all developing countries. In Brazil, the three main forms of support for agriculture between 1970 and 1985 (subsidized credit policies, an undervalued exchange rate and tax subsidies) were eliminated and, globally, structural adjustment policies were fairly successful. The generous subsidies received by the agricultural sector between 1970 and 1985 made a decisive contribution to income and wealth concentration in the rural environment and, thanks to help with mechanization, led to the elimination of precarious land tenure5 and to conflicts over land as a result of the tax incentives as a result of which urban enterprises monopolized large stretches of land in Amazonia6. The reduction of state credit to the agricultural sector has not caused production to fall far from it. In 1985, for example, when the state made US$ 15 billion available for farmers through the national rural credit system, the cultivated area in Brazil was 42.5 million ha and cereal production was 53.9 tons. Ten years later, state credit had fallen to almost one-third of its previous level and the surface area had been reduced (39 million ha), but the harvest had reached 80 million tons. Agricultural funding is less and less dependent on state funds and this corresponds to a very important change in relation to the model which dominated growth in the sector between 1970 and 1985. This agricultural dynamism had very positive effects on the success of the stabilization plan set up in Brazil after 19947, because it made a significant contribution to the fall in food (one of the main technological centres in Latin America) 24.8 percent of inhabitants said they were ready to leave the town and to work and live in the country if they would benefit under an agrarian reform plan (ABRA, 1995). 5

Even if they show - correctly - the socially positive effects of technological development in agriculture, Binswanger and von Braun (1993:181) cite several cases where state subsidies have made access to mechanical technology artificially cheap thus causing the elimination of tenant farmers in Pakistan, Sudan and Ethiopia. 6 In Amazonia, the area held by large enterprises based in the state of S達o Paulo is greater than the rural area of the state of S達o Paulo itself. 7 The 'plan real' led to the country's annual inflation rate falling from 2 300 percent in 1993, to less than 40 percent in 1995. The plan rests on three pillars: opening up to trade, overvaluing the exchange rate and raising bank interest rates with two objectives: to curb economic activity (and hence the threat of inflation racing ahead again) and to attract variable capital which today accounts for at least two-thirds of the US$ 50 billion in currency which the country holds in reserves.

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prices. On the other hand, after agricultural earnings suffered a drastic reduction, a 10 percent drop in the next harvest was forecast. The economic stabilization plan is largely supported by an income transfer that the agriculture sector has worked to the benefit of society as a whole and, above all, the poorest section of the population where food is the largest item in the family budget. I think it is important to note, during our workshop's discussions, that as a result of the fall in food prices, agriculture has made an important contribution to beginning to fill the development gap. Despite the widely held view in Latin America, the reduction in food prices in Brazil is the result of important technological gains rather than of a so-called levy raised from small producers. There are two obstacles to maintaining these results. a.) The state tax crisis means the state is no longer able to finance and support the sector in times of overproduction. b) The policy of overvaluing the exchange rate and opening up to trade threatens the positive performance of the agriculture sector. Today Brazil is second only to China in wheat production. Production fell from 6.1 million tons in 1987 to 1.6 million tons in 1995. In 1996, the country will have to spend more than US$ 1 000 million on wheat imports alone, amounting to 7 million tons. Brazil used to be a great cotton exporter but now imports 500 000 tons of this product valued at US$ 700 million. These imports are attractive for industry because of the domestic policy of high interest rates8. Maize production will be less than consumption by 5 million tons and if massive imports are not planned, it is because the government has large stocks. The recent growth in Brazilian agriculture has had undeniably positive repercussions on distribution. It remains to be seen if this performance will last in a situation where the state is less and less capable of managing income stabilization policies on the one hand and opening up trade on the other. The importance today of the tradition of large estates Recent agricultural development in Latin America is characterized by what Johnston and Kilby (1975) called bi-modalism. While in the central capitalist countries, agricultural progress is organized around the family unit, in Brazil ownership of large areas of land has had a decisive influence on the whole of social life as was already pointed out by JosĂŠ Medina

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The interest rate policy surely represents one of the most perverse aspects of the economic stabilization plan. Coupled with the opening up of trade, this causes serious deadlocks, as in the case of cotton where imports are paid for on the basis of annual interest rates which are almost 18 percent per year and payment terms of 360 days. Payment under the national financial system for products purchased on the domestic market must be made in 60 days on the basis of a monthly interest rate of 10 percent. (Saes and Braga, 1996:20).

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Echavarría in 19549. It should not be forgotten, to borrow the expression from Enzo Faletto (1988), that the hacienda was the basis of a culture and, in particular, of a political culture. It is in this sense that the ““modernization of the great landed estates,”” an expression which has become very common in Latin America, even if it is true from the economic point of view in several circumstances, seems unsuitable if we examine the more general effects of development based on these units of great territorial extension. This does not mean, however, that we can speak of generalized land ownership parasitism in Latin America. In several Latin American regions, the famous inverse relationship (according to which land use would tend to decrease as land area increased) no longer holds true. The large properties have very clearly intensified agricultural activity10. One of the main consequences of bi-modalism is that the weight of non-family farms in agricultural supply is generally greater. Before starting to talk about agrarian reform, it must be stressed that, in contrast to Asiatic experience, Latin American agrarian reform cannot aim to end the current bimodalism. Land-owning parasitism is not nearly as widespread as it was before the late 1960s, when the theme of agrarian reform was on the agendas of the main international organizations. The statistics are uncertain but in Latin America, once again in contrast with the situation in most of the Asian countries, we still have an unexploited agricultural border zone (not the Amazon forest zones) of which a considerable part is within the very large estates. In these cases, the theme of the inverse relationship is still relevant. The weight of the large properties represents an important limit to the development of civil society, community life and hence to balanced rural development. Many farm workers live in small towns where access to the most elementary means of existence is practically denied. 9

The social structure in Latin America has for many years presented the hacienda format in different ways. The entire economic, social and political history of the region is largely the history of the establishment and transformation of this economic and social unit. The weakening of the traditional structures in Latin America is clouded by the slow disappearance of this old organization - a slow disappearance but not extinction since we can still observe its presence and its influence (Echavarría,1954, Chonchol, 1994). 10 It seems interesting to me to discuss the proposition of Michael Lipton (1993:648) who said that the inverse relationship does not apply to all agricultural production, among all the other activities, in function of the factor costs. Wanting to enforce the principles of family farming on the mechanized production and harvesting practised in Russia today would be just as foolishly ineffective as was Stalin's enforced collectivization, although less damaging and disgusting from a human point of view. Family farming persists from Montana to Burgundy via Poland. Nevertheless, the efficiency and the persistence of large farms is not an illusion.

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This is a fundamental point for discussion because small and medium-sized towns are often viewed as alternatives to either rural poverty or marginalization in a big city. Leone's important study in Brazil (1995:161) shows that even in the most developed regions (such as the state of SĂŁo Paulo), living in a town and depending on farm work tends to lead to extremely precarious living conditions. The system of large farms that depend on the work of salaried temporary workers causes uprooting and therefore is in opposition to the creation of an active social and cultural life which any rural development policy should foster11. In other words, the development of the system of salaried temporary workers on large farms is not the way to help poor people increase their opportunities to participate in the market economy. III.

RURAL POVERTY AND AGRARIAN REFORM

What sense is there in agrarian reform in these countries which, despite the poverty of their rural population, have dynamic agricultural sectors, are able to assimilate technical innovations and are highly integrated into national and international markets? Until now, agrarian reforms have been successful in those countries and regions where rural poverty and agricultural stagnation could be seen as the same problem12. This is particularly the case for the most successful agrarian reforms, those of Japan, Korea and Taiwan13, where it has been possible to achieve agricultural growth and the integration of the poor into the economic system in one step. The development of the productive forces and the fight against poverty could be seen as one and the same challenge. Latin America has lost its historic opportunity (which several Asiatic states have put to good use) to make agricultural modernization an instrument to integrate the poor into the dynamism of the market economy and, as a result, construct the bases of their economic and social emancipation. In this sense, growth has been disorganized, but it has not been blocked. 11

The employer’s system is losing its traditional attributes and power but these historic political and social functions are not being replaced by any other institution - the void created by this situation in the rural environment is not being filled by the state, nor by civil society (Ortega, 1992:144). 12 Poverty in rural regions, combined with production which is stagnant or deteriorating, constitute a single problem tied to the very low productivity of a large part of the agricultural workforce, particularly as regards food production (El Ghonemy, 1990:17). 13 Binswanger and Deininger (1993:1469) collect the most important evidence in this sense. They say that agrarian reform in Japan and Taiwan is associated with a growth in investment, a rapid adoption of technological innovations and an increase in the use of family workers. In Taiwan between 1953 and 1960, the annual increase in the production and consumption of inputs was of 23 percent and 11 percent respectively. In Japan, the productivity of work and land increased by 5 percent and 4 percent per year respectively between 1954 and 1968. In Korea, under the impact of agrarian reform, agriculture achieved a growth rate of almost 4 percent per year.

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In these situations, the economic sense of the changes represented by agrarian reform tends to be in doubt. This is what is happening in Brazil and in Latin America in general, and in South Africa (Lipton and Lipton, 1993) in particular, where agrarian reform is often seen either as a useless expense or, at most, as a purely social policy whose economic sense is simply that of waiting for the imminent urbanization to be completed in order to carry out its work of assimilation. But it is important to discuss certain proposals about the sense of agrarian reform in today’’s situation. a) Agrarian reform is not a panacea that will resolve the social problems of a region that has urbanized rapidly and has a population that is now three-fourths urban. However, it is still the only lasting way to address the problem of rural poverty and can have permanent effects on how the poor are introduced into the economic system. This is different from other social programmes, such as public work approaches or food distribution which are important in attenuating extreme poverty but are incapable of changing the matrix of income distribution. b) Agrarian reform must be clearly targeted in two ways: - It must be concentrated in the poorest rural regions. In Brazil this means mainly the northeast. The recent formation of scattered assentamentos (the settling of farmers under agrarian reform programmes) in the Southern region produced very good economic results14, a fact which is recognized even by opponents of agrarian reform (Castro, 1992). However, in the northeast, the practice of introducing these scattered assentamentos, i.e. not on a large scale nor in a selective way, produces mediocre results. The explanation of this contrast is simple - in southern Brazil, the socioeconomic conditions permit the development of family agriculture (roads, banks, cooperatives, competitive markets, and basic social infrastructure), while in the northeast, the new farmers fall prey to the traditional ways of obtaining credit and gaining access to the market which impedes their success. Therefore, agrarian reform must be limited regionally, but it should be on a large enough

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An FAO survey (FAO/INCRA Conference, 1992) on the national plan shows that in most cases, the farmers settled under agrarian reform programmes have higher incomes than they could have earned in any other sector of the labour market to which they had access. Nevertheless, the work shows that in the region with the highest concentration of rural poverty, the economic results of agrarian reform are mediocre. This work also shows that it is less costly to place a family in an agrarian reform programme than to create a job in a sector such as civil building works. (FAO/INCRA Conference, 1992).

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scale to change the socio-economic environment and, as a result, the relationship of the farmer with all the institutions that define his entry into society. I recently visited an assentamento in the state of ParaĂŻba (in northeast Brazil) where the farmers were happy and proud of their productive performance. When I asked them about their children's education, I learned that the schoolmistress received one-fourth of the minimum salary each month and so she did not give any lessons. It is clear that if this asssentamento were not isolated in this unproductive regional ocean of great estates, but inserted into a socially-significant experience, the bases would have been created immediately to change the relationship between the farmers and the public and private institutions. -In addition to location, agrarian reform must also be targeted from a time angle. The practice of creating scattered assentamentos must be replaced by a vast programme to improve the rural environment in the poorest regions and to put an end to structures which allow patronage and personal dependency links with the great landowners. c) In the regions which suffer from both extreme rural poverty and landowning concentration and absenteeism, alternative mechanisms to agrarian reform (land tax, land funds and the rental market, itself a land market) are unable to fulfil the distributive role which one might expect. De Janvry and Sadoulet (1993b:267) show that in Asia the land rental market can work, precisely because the structure of large estates was first broken up by agrarian reform, in contrast to what happens in our country. In their opinion however, this is a road to be exploited, despite the lack of tradition. In relation to those regions where the weight of family farming is important, they are surely right. However, in relation to those regions with the typical large estates, I admit to some scepticism in this regard, which a recent study of Carter and Galeano (1995) seems to confirm. IV.

FAMILY AGRICULTURE AND CIVIL SOCIETY

In several Latin American regions, agrarian reform is not (or is no longer) on the agenda. This is particularly the case for areas where economics and social environment have allowed family farming to incorporate the material means for technical development and participation in growth. These are generally regions where the social indicators show a much more balanced situation than those where the large estates dominate. In the south of Brazil, for example - in the regions which were not dominated by colonial plantations and slave labour - the social, territorial and economic weight of family agriculture is very important (in some regions of the states of Santa Catarina and ParanĂĄ, it is even predominant) and I think that the questions posed by this sector are crucial for the creation of new paradigms for rural development. In these regions, some of the most dynamic sectors of Brazilian agriculture are dominated by family farms. This is the case for poultry and pig farms, tobacco production and often even for cereal production.

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Two frequent misunderstandings must be avoided when examining family farming within the balanced rural development. a) Family farming and small-scale production are not synonomous. Several Latin American regions have recently witnessed the formation of a sector of family farmers integrated into competitive markets for produce and credit who are looking for long-term technological innovation and who are not averse to taking risks; in short, their way of life is moving away from what might be defined as a ““peasant economy””15. In contrast with an entire intellectual tradition in Latin America, one could say that these family farmers are fully integrated into the operational mechanisms of the capitalist economy. They are not ““resistance fighters”” destined to disappear16. b) The differences within family farming itself need to be recognized. Between the farmers who find themselves in a situation of extreme poverty - and whose material reproduction depends less and less on agricultural work done on the farm - and the relatively stable family farmers, there is a vast intermediate class whose size cannot be ignored. It is most important for rural development policies in Latin America to be directed toward this intermediate group. In addition to settling new farmers, it is also important to make their activities viable and create the conditions for formerly-settled farmers to make use of their existing productive abilities to help themselves and society. A team of Brazilian researchers is currently working on a FAO project to quantify the economic and social weight and the different classes of family farmers, the agrarian systems which characterize them and the rural development policy proposals which could help strengthen them. This FAO work should be placed in a context for observing a change in the relationship between Brazilian society and family agriculture. Around this change, one can see some of the new rural development questions. a) Intellectually, since the beginning of the 1990s, family farming has been a noble subject on the agendas of the most important research institutions in Brazil. L'EMBRAPA (the Brazilian enterprise for agricultural research) has established a work programme on this subject. Researchers are approaching the subject with new methods (studies of the agrarian systems which, in Brazil, were not very widespread), in search of new data (quantifying family farming on the basis of income levels and not by surface area) and on new questions (part-time agriculture).

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The definition supplied by Ellis (1988) in indispensable work, seems to me to be the most complete from a sociological angle. In his opinion, peasants are family producers who are only partially introduced incomplete markets. 16 For more details and a theoretical summing up on theme, see Abramavoy, 1992.

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b) Socially, this sector of family farmers in the south of Brazil is beginning to represent an important force within the union movement and is linked to several nongovernmental organizations. The themes they are working on are doubly new. - They are increasing their knowledge on the mechanisms of agricultural policy management, international trade, credit, and markets, subjects that until recently had nothing to do with the movements of rural workers. This is understandable because a union movement culture is created in the struggle for land and the struggle for employees' rights and on those themes which pertain to the ““emarginated””. It is only recently that themes dealing with agricultural policy and the working of the market have become important to them. It is important to underline that the appearance of these ““new themes”” has not meant opposition to the ““traditional themes”” of the rural workers' movement (the struggle for land, for better salaries, etc.), nor to the movements which represent them (above all the Movement for Rural Workers with no Land). Most of the new generation of union officials linked to specific questions of strengthening family agriculture belong to the group of leftist union organizations ('the Sole Workers' Organization). - They raise new questions which do not have aspects of immediate protest, for example questions concerning women and the young. The Women's Commission of the Sole Workers' Organization has just edited a didactic work on the construction of new relationships in family farming that calls for reflection on relationships within milk, maize and medicinal plant production (CUT, 1995). Also, the above-mentioned FAO team noted that the most recent rural exodus, at least in the regions where family farming has a significant weight, mainly affects young people. This poses very serious succession problems although I have found no university research on this problem in Brazil. However, this is a subject which provokes increasing concern in the social movements, as it puts questions the ability of family farming to reproduce itself. This theme deserves much more attention from the researchers and international organizations dealing with rural development. c) Politically, in October 1995, the Brazilian government launched a national programme to reinforce family farming and declared that all efforts and resources of agricultural policy must be directed towards this sector of society. The success of this programme, in a country where the force of the large estates is known and where until now family farmers have had no influence on agricultural policy decisions, is by no means guaranteed. The important point is that it has allowed discussion of certain basic themes concerning agricultural policy, rural development policy and land policy itself, including the following: - the reinforcement of family farming may be one of the bases for decentralizing agricultural policy. We have already seen, the decline of the model for funding agriculture which is centralized in the federal state. The appearance of credit cooperatives independent of the banking system shows considerable potential for agricultural funding to be based on local savings, even if only in a small way. Another important experience in this sense is that of the state of Santa Catarina in southern Brazil, where in one-half the municipalities, the local administration organizes ““rotating

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funds”” for agricultural financing on the basis of municipal finances. These funds are created by farmers who pay for the public services they use, such as opening and maintaining of roads. The procedure for the creation of these funds is simple and does not require a municipal law (Gasques, Villa Verde, 1995:28). It is in contrast to the dominant trend in Latin America which Ortega (1992:144) called undermunicipalization. Nevertheless, the basis for this intervention on the part of municipal public power is the existence of a populated rural environment where farmers can take responsibility for own their destiny. - It is also in the state of Santa Catarina that the discussion on the forms of access to land other than by agrarian reform is making the most progress. In 1983, the state of Santa Catarina established a land fund that buys lots on the market and then sells them to farmers with no land at prices they can afford. Between 1983 and 1995 this fund settled 2 134 farmers, of whom 83 percent previously had rented land. In 1994, the FAO team working on this theme proposed the creation of a mechanism to regulate the development of land structures in the regions where family farming dominates. In these regions, self-employed professionals who live in towns often buy land from farmers in difficulty or from aged farmers. These sales should not be prevented, but since these purchasers are not farmers, it is a loss for the rural communities. This is why the FAO team (FAO/INCRA Conference, 1994) proposes setting up Land Organization Companies with pre-emptive rights on operations involving the buying and selling of land. This company (which would not belong to the state) could, in certain circumstances, buy a property (at the price offered by the original buyer) and hand it over to young farmers who would repay the cost on the basis of a farming plan. I was myself invited to discuss this theme at the Santa Catarina Agriculture Secretariat. The state authorities were worried by the prospect of a rural exodus involving young people and the destructive effect on rural communities of the systematic buying of lands by people who were not going to live on them (doctors, lawyers, etc.). Here again, this discussion is only possible thanks to the force of family farmers; it would be impossible in a zone dominated by large estates. V. CONCLUSIONS The role of agriculture in the creation of a development model where economic growth is the main factor of integration into social life is objectively limited in Latin America by the phenomenon of de-ruralization. In this sense, agriculture’’s contribution to distribution lies in its capacity to supply food to the whole of society in abundant quantities and at decreasing real prices. The concentration and parasitic nature of the large estates in Latin America (at least in Brazil in recent times) has not prevented agriculture from fulfilling these social and economic functions, despite the destructive effects of the great landowners’’ power on social organization in the rural environment. The social effect of agrarian reform today will not be the same as when most of the population lived in the rural environment. However, it is no less important as a means of combatting rural poverty. It is the main condition for the rural poor to apply pressure to gain access to modern social institutions such as public health, education services, credit, competitive

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markets, transport and infrastructure. In this sense, agrarian reform must be localized, but concentrated in space and time, so that it can help the poor onto the road of constructive participation in the market economy. However, rural development policy cannot be reduced to agrarian reform. It can be one of the bases for unifying the rural environment and civil society, which most of the time, are held to be contradictory in the minds of Latin Americans. Family farming enjoys social and economic importance in regions where the most topical development themes are beginning to be discussed (the role of women and the young). It is also from these regions that initiatives are forthcoming (credit cooperatives, municipal credit) which may represent a way to decentralize at least one part of agricultural policy itself.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY ABRA (1995) - A reforma agrária entre a população urbana: uma pesquisa de opinià pública em Campinas/SP - Campinas, Sao Paulo, mimeo. Abramovay, R. - (1992) - Paradigmas Hucitec/Edunicamp/ANPOCS - São Paulo.

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em

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Agriculture, the rural environment and the development gap  
Agriculture, the rural environment and the development gap  

Artigo apresentado no "Inter-regional Workshop on Strategies for agrarian reform and rural development after the cold war", Gödöllö, Hungary...

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