Agrarian reform is a set of measures aimed at modifying the ownership and exploitation of land. In this way, it seeks to change the way in which agricultural holdings are distributed.
In other words, agrarian reform is a set of measures designed to change the way in which land ownership is concentrated. In this way, the objective is that productive soils are not in the hands of a few large landowners.
Seen in another way, what this type of reform aims at is to avoid that a factor of production, the land, remains the property of a few economic agents.
It should be noted that these types of revolutions have taken place in different countries, whether in Asia, Europe or Latin America. This, throughout the 20th century.
Objectives of the agrarian reform
Agrarian reform can occur in different contexts. Depending on that, your goals may be as follows:
- Seek greater social equity, given the large gaps between the peasant class and the landowners.
- Vindicate farmers, as they are subject to mistreatment by their employers. This may be due to the requirement of long working hours, low wages, and even the performance of tasks in conditions that could be considered semi-slavery.
- Avoid future social upheavals that could cause further damage to the State. In other words, in the face of social demands, the government anticipates and prevents conflicts that could be very violent.
- Replace a scheme of large landowners by another of small and medium farmers.
Land reform measures
To carry out the agrarian reform, two measures are carried out:
- Expropriation: The Government takes control of the land, transferring ownership, for example, from the landowner to the farmer.
- Compensatory mechanisms: The landlord is required to part with his property. This, in exchange for compensation that the Government will deliver.
Example of agrarian reform
An example of agrarian reform was the one that occurred in the 1970s in Peru during the government of Juan Velasco Alvarado. The slogan was to "return" the land to the hands of those who worked it.
Thus, the Velasco military government expropriated the large landowners and awarded the productive units to cooperatives and peasant communities. This, with the aim that said associations manage the agricultural activity.
This revolution would have occurred in a context of social conflict with notorious gaps between landowners and peasants. Thus, according to some historians, the relationship between the two was often, more than a labor bond, a situation of submission and exploitation.
It should also be noted that the Peruvian government, despite carrying out the expropriation, has recognized a debt to the landowners stripped of their property (or to their corresponding heirs). Thus, they have been awarded a bonus that will be paid in installments. The registration of the beneficiaries culminated in 2019.
Regarding the results of the reform, the researchers usually warn that it did not have the desired effects because the agricultural cooperatives did not have the capacity or knowledge to manage the productive units. Consequently, wealth was not generated, quite the contrary.
On the other hand, although it cannot be said that the agrarian reform was profitable, some analysts assure that such measures were almost inevitable in the context of that time. Otherwise, a greater social conflict would have been unleashed.