Last week, the Funes Administration launched a program that aims to strengthen El Salvador’s agricultural system by increasing production and legalizing land possession for farmers that have been unable to obtain titles to their property.
In a ceremony launching the initiative, President Funes stated that his administration “wants to make the countryside into the driving force behind the country’s development.” President Funes also acknowledged that the agricultural sector has been ignored for too many years. Since the late 1980s, conservative administrations have supported industrialization and manufacturing, and built a dependency on agricultural imports.
The administration’s plan will benefit 600,000 farmers and increase agricultural outputs by 10% from 2009-2010. Government agencies will distribute fertilizers, and seed for corn, beans, rice, and sorghum. The government will also create a commission to address the issue of cattle rustling, which has been a growing problem in recent years. The plan also commits to renewing a Coffee Park over the next five years, by distributing 20 million coffee plants to growers. Farmers will also receive technical training from agricultural experts, who will stress the importance of growing more fruits and vegetables for local consumption.
Since taking office on June 1, the new administration has granted land titles to 934 families that have farmed without them for over twenty years. The government will soon begin reviewing title requests for another 849 families in Izalco, Usulután, and Ahuachapán. The government’s goal is to grant 3000 land titles as a part of the agricultural project. Besides the obvious benefit of protecting the farmer’s right to his or her land, studies show that land titles allow farmers greater access to credit and provide incentives for investments into a property.