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La Via Campesina

6 March 2011

Peasant-led agrarian reform and food sovereignty


ABSTRACT Faustino Torrez summarizes the findings of the Agrarian
Reform Commission of La Via Campesina, an international peasant
movement that initiated the Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform.

KEYWORDS integral agrarian reform; World Bank; land grabbing;
peasantry; food sovereignty


The process included a global encounter with the landless peoples in
San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the La Via Campesina conferences, and
the global fora in Valencia and Porto Alegre. La Via Campesina has
been developing a new concept of agrarian reform that recognizes
the socio-environmental aspects of land, the sea and natural
resources, in the context of food sovereignty. Integral agrarian
reform encompasses policies of redistribution, just, equitable access
and control of natural, social and productive resources (credit,
appropriate technologies, health, education, social security etc.) by
peasants and their families, indigenous people, landless workers,
artisanal fisherfolk, pastoralists, the unemployed, Dalit communities,
Afrodescendents and other rural peoples. He argues that
development policies should be based on agro-ecological strategies
centred on family and peasant agriculture and artisanal fishing;
trade policies that oppose dumping of products in the market and
favour peasant and family farm production oriented towards local,
national and international markets; and public policies in the areas
of education, health and infrastructure for the countryside that
complement trade and other policies.

The origins of agrarian reform

Throughout history, the struggle for land, space and territory has included the need to
secure access to and control of natural resources. Agrarian reform dates back to the
end of the eighteenth century. There have been two dominant modes of agrarian reform:
the capitalist agrarian reform, which created internal markets for national industrial
development and transformed landless farmers into independent entrepreneurs.
Second, the socialist agrarian reform which redistributed land to farmers in the context
of changes to the capitalist mode of production and included the nationalization and
collectivization of land and the means of production.


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