On Saturday morning, April 30, about 300 MST families occupied an area in the Rio Preto rural area, in Planaltina, Federal District.
The action was part of National Day of Struggle in Defense of Agrarian Reformwhich takes place throughout the country during the month of April, and this year brings the motto with the motto “Popular Agrarian Reform: for land, roof and bread”.
The occupied area is public and has been the target of real estate speculation by land grabbers, a practice that is spreading throughout the Federal District.
The purpose of the occupation was to denounce the case and demand the resumption of the creation of new Agrarian Reform settlements. There is still a suspicion that springs present at the site were being contaminated by the use of pesticides.
In retaliation for the occupation, land grabbers in the region blocked the passage of anyone on the road leading to the site with a tractor. Carrying firearms, they threaten anyone who tries to cross the street, which is public. Even access to water and food has been blocked since Saturday, due to the action of land grabbers. Police arrived at the scene.
However, nothing is being done to unlock the passage, keeping the families in false imprisonment.
Adonilton Rodrigues, from the MST state direction in the DFE, says that this area is part of a complex of medium-sized farms, all in public areas linked to Terracap.
“For years these farms have been illegally exploited and sold by agribusiness sectors in the region, fulfilling a role that encourages the illegal occupation of public lands in the DF”, says Rodrigues.
Terracap is the Development Agency of the Federal District whose objective is to ensure the management of public lands, guaranteeing the fulfillment of its social, economic and environmental responsibility. According to the agency itself, more than 50% of rural lands in the DF are not regularized.
Land grabbing and irregular land use is a historical problem in the Federal District, mainly linked to the lack of planning by the government.
The intense population growth is one of the reasons that justify this problem.
In 1957, the population of the DF was only 15 thousand inhabitants, in 1980, this number increased to 1,200,000 and today there are more than 4 million people living in the metropolitan region of Brasília.
According to the Federal District Planning Company (Codeplan), approximately 19% of the population of the DF lives in irregular occupation, with 7.1% living in settlements or invasions and 12.8% living in non-regulated areas (in the expectation of legalization ).
According to the State Secretariat for the Protection of Urban Order (DF Legal) they pointed out that irregular occupations reached 2.5 million square meters in 2020 – which corresponds to 4.3% of the area of the Federal District. In the first half of that year, the total reached 500 thousand m².
Many of these invasions are carried out by land grabbers, who seek to benefit from a land regularization policy that does not follow very well-defined procedures. These land grabbers invade public lands and are waiting for land regularization carried out by the Government of the DF (GDF). With regularization, or in the face of its imminence, these land grabbers speculate on these lands, selling them at high prices.
As an illustration of this situation, Governor Ibaneis Rocha (MDB-DF) signed, at the end of last March, a decree regulating about 52 thousand hectares of rural area.
Another historical example is the case of governor Joaquim Roriz, who commanded the DF government for 3 terms. Roriz was known for distributing land in the 1980s to the low-income population in exchange for favors, where the politician “gave” the land and the beneficiary “donated” his vote.
Adonilton Rodrigues states that most areas do not have land title, they have precarious title through contracts with the GDF.
“Most of the occupants there pay derisory fees to the government while they lease or have rental contracts for these public areas, obtaining advantages, and most concessionaires do not even reside in the area”, he concludes.
The occupation carried out by the Landless families seeks to give another destination to the area used by land grabbing. THE
The movement will make the area a territory for the production of healthy food, providing conditions for the families of the occupation to feed themselves, in addition to being a source of income generation. With the future production of food, families will be able to sell it in the various fairs that the MST participates in throughout the Federal District.
Furthermore, the occupation of the MST represents an important form of environmental protection in the region.
The DF is considered an environmentally sensitive region. It is the birthplace of three of the most important hydrographic basins in the country: Paraná, São Francisco and Tocantins-Araguaia basins.
With production based on agroecology, the Landless families will contribute to the recovery of the area, degraded by the action of land grabbers.
Meeting with the Secretary of Agriculture seeks a solution to the conflict
Seeking a solution to the conflict, the state leadership of the MST met with the Secretary of Agriculture. Also participating in the meeting, in addition to representatives of the Secretariat itself, Terracap, the Civil House of the GDF and the Federal Public Defender’s Office, lawyers allied to the Movement, Federal Deputy Érika Kokay (PT-DF), District Deputy Chico Vigilante (PT -DF) and Gabriel Magno, representing the mandate of District Representative Arlete Sampaio (PT-DF).
The Movement demanded the unblocking of the road that gives access to the occupation and the non removal of the families from the place, who have already started working the land for planting. It was also required to review all Concession Contracts for the Use of Public Lands for large landowners and land grabbers, so that those who are not fulfilling their social, economic and environmental function are destined for the Agrarian Reform Program of the Federal District. .
*Edited by Fernanda Alcântara