Featured image: Brazilian President Luiz Inácio announces record breaking subsidies for big landlords. Source: EFE/EPA/Sedat Suna
On Tuesday, June 27, Luiz Inácio, the President of Brazil, announced his “Harvest Plan” (Plano Safra) for the period 2023-24. The plan with a budget of 364.22 billion Brazilian Reais (R$), is supporting the big landlords and the upper layers of the medium-sized landowners. The record breaking budget is 26.8% more than the budget of the Harvest Plan for 2022-23 by the previous Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro.
Of the R$ 364.22 billion handout, R$ 61.14 billion, around 16 percent, will go to upper layers of medium-sized landowners. The remaining R$ 303.08 billion will go the the big landlords. The Brazilian Government will announce a separate program for what they call “family agriculture”. This program is expected to have a more modest budget, at around R$ 61.14 billion. This is around 19 percent of the sum allocated to the Harvest Plan.
“Family agriculture” is used by the Brazilian State to refer to small and medium peasant families. These peasants own 84% percent of rural properties in Brazil. However, they only have 2.3% of the country’s agricultural land. In addition to the land-owning peasants, there are also 5 million peasant families without any land.
There are also further rewards for those who “adopt sustainable practices” and are registered with the Brazilian government’s services to “control environmental damage”. This also mainly benefits the big landlords who have the resources and connections to “prove” that they comply with this.
One day before the announcement of the handout, two of Luiz Inácio’s ministers, Fernando Haddad and Marina Silva, met with representatives of the Parliamentary Front for Agriculture (FPA). The FPA is the “ruralist bench” of the Brazilian Parliament, representing the big landlords. All of the demands put forward of behalf of the big landlords at this meeting were included in the plan announced by the Brazilian President the following day.
Inácio has also stated that there should no longer be occupations of land. He justifies this with claiming that his government will solve the problem of land. In reality the concentration of land has only grown under the current government.
A recent editorial of the Brazilian newspaper AND states the following regarding the new “Harvest Plan”:
“To those who expect a ‘progressive government’ and are at the mercy of the PT’s blackmail, it would be appropriate to ask: why subordinate everything to keeping in the government those who make podium speeches, but govern in an inverted way anchored in an eternal ‘unfavorable correlation of forces’, doing absolutely nothing to change it!? Well, if that’s the case, why did the trade union centrals, in the hands of opportunism, not call on the members to fight, during the approval of Bolsonaro’s pension reform (which buried the right to retirement in the country for a huge portion of the working masses)? Why do they do nothing to mobilize the masses in order to change the so-called ‘correlation of forces’, given that the masses have demonstrated their revolt, so many times taking to the streets, against the excesses of the reaction? Well, they didn’t do it because they don’t want to, because they fear that the mobilized masses will take the revolutionary path, trampling them once and for all together with all reaction.”