Peru - Context and Land Governance | Land Portal
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Peru agriculture land

Peru shares the main land-related problems of several South American countries: the existence of very large landholdings (latifundios), on the one hand, and small landholdings (minifundios), on the other, in historical processes marked by the interests of actors such as landowners, agro-industrialists, peasants, and indigenous communities. However, unlike some neighboring countries, the dynamics of these elements are different due to a series of particular agricultural policies and their respective results, which have placed Peru as one of the main producers and exporters of agricultural crops in the region.

Land tenure system and the country’s historical context

In a historical context clearly marked by an agrarian structure based on large estates (haciendas) that was imposed on indigenous communities and small producers, the Agrarian Reform of 1969 succeeded in reverting the properties of large landowners (12 million hectares) and distributing them to around 600 cooperative farms (10 million hectares). However, 20 years later, within the neoliberal policies of the 1990s, the normative framework that allowed this important action was changed, eliminating the safeguards of agrarian property. The main tool for this was the Political Constitution of the State (1993), which guarantees the right of all persons (whether natural or legal) to access and preserve agrarian property, without any demands regarding the use of such property or the extension of land. The other instrument was Law 26.505 on the Promotion of Investment in Economic Activities in the Lands of National Territory and of Peasant and Native Communities, or Land Law (1995), which ruled out the limitations on the use and disposal of agricultural land, such as, for example, the principle that the land belongs to those who work it, the prohibition of latifundios, the need to eliminate minifundios, the concept of the social function of agrarian property, and the need to establish a size limit to large property. Thus, it allowed the free transfer and any modality of rights transfer over land; additionally, greater security was provided to large landowners.

An important policy of recent years has been to enable unproductive lands (tierras eriazas) on the Peruvian coast, previously confiscated by the state (and sometimes affecting the rights of producers and communities) by allocating large state investments in irrigation megaprojects. These lands are then auctioned to the highest bidder and, therefore, end up in the hands of large companies and economic groups, without benefiting the peasant sector. These lands are being used for the production of crops such as sugar cane and African palm for the production of agro-fuels.

In this context, where the concentration of land is no longer controlled—and in fact is promoted—the situation of relative equity in land tenure that had been achieved with the Agrarian Reform of 1969 has been reversed by land grabs. Currently, about 80% of agricultural units in Peru have less than 5 hectares and control 6% of the total national agricultural area. At the same time, agricultural units with more than 500 hectares are only 0.3 % of the total, but they amount to approximately 70% of the country's agricultural area.

Trends in land use

In the last 25 years, the agricultural policies described above have led to the introduction and consolidation of an economic model linked to the primary export sector. This sector is associated with the export of non-traditional agricultural products such as asparagus, mangos, coffee, grapes, avocado, quinoa and a wide variety of additional crops, supported by processes of modern private investment and high innovation. The results are remarkable in terms of increasing the contribution of agriculture to GDP and national income; however, much of this economic growth is the result of increased land grabbing and marginalization of peasants and small producers.

On the other hand, in addition to the undeniable state support for large-scale agricultural investment, there are about 54,000 concessions in Peru affecting various natural resources, mainly mining and hydrocarbons. These concessions overlap with the land rights of peasants and native communities. State support for agroindustry has its counterpart in state backing for private investments in the exploitation of these resources, without considering the needs of local populations.

Key land challenges and problems

There are important issues for peasants and native communities, such as legal security (land title clearing) that the state does not consider to be relevant. There is no prioritization of programs for the formalization of property, despite the fact that for decades it has been a pending issue on the state agenda and that of peasant organizations. Much more critical is the situation of native communities, since their territories often overlap with mining, hydrocarbon and forestry concessions and, for that reason, their rights are not formally recognized. The causes of this are the lack of state will, the absence of a comprehensive cadaster system for rural property, and the existence of outdated regulatory frameworks.

On the other hand, there are several mechanisms of land concentration in Peru: free market, state intervention in projects favorable to agribusiness, irrigation projects, extractive industries, control of water for irrigation. Peru has made a major leap toward export agriculture, hand in hand with land grabbing by large economic groups, and the state has played a fundamental role in supporting these corporations and companies through making the land tenure system more flexible, creating subsidies, lowering taxes and investing in state capital.

References
  • Del Castillo, Laureano. La legislación peruana y los derechos de pequeños agricultores y comunidades a la propiedad de las tierras. Movimiento Regional por la Tierra y el Territorio (MRxT) – Instituto para el Desarrollo Rural de Sudamérica (IPDRS), 2014 (digital).
  • Escobedo, Jaime. Concentración de tierras a la peruana, en Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales. La revista Agraria Nº 169. Concentración. La tierra en pocas manos: el proceso continúa con el apoyo del gobierno. Lima – Perú: CEPES, 2015.
  • Escobedo, Jaime. La situación en Perú, en Escobedo, Jaime; Soumoulou, Luciana; Seghezzo, Gabriel; Herrera, Johana; Rivera, Rigoberto; Gómez, Manuel. La tierra un recurso en disputa. Instituciones, actores y procesos en Argentina, Colombia, Perú y Venezuela. Lima - Perú: Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales – CEPES, 2015.
  • Libélula, comunicación, ambiente y desarrollo. Diagnóstico de la agricultura en el Perú. Perú Opportunity Fund. 2011 (digital).

Total spending for agricultural reserch measured measured as a share of the value added from agriculture, forestry and fishing activities

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Percentage (%)

Distribution of agricultural holders by sex (female - Share %) according to the FAO Land and Gender Database.

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Percentage (%)

GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP). PPP GDP is gross domestic product converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates.

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PPP$ 2011

Land area is the total area (1'000 Ha) of the country excluding area under inland water bodies.

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1'000 ha

Total funding (US $) for programmes still ongoing. Last updated on the 31st of January, 2019.

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US$ (Current)

Total number of programmes still ongoing. Last updated on the 31st of January, 2019.

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Number

Total population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country

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Number

Rural population refers to the share (%) of people living in rural areas as defined by national statistical offices. It is calculated as the ratio between Urban Population and Total Population.

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Percentage (%)
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Total population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country

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Number
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Total population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country

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Number
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Arable land (1'000 Ha) is the land under temporary agricultural crops (multiple-cropped areas are counted only once), temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens

Measurement unit: 
1'000 ha

It measures the area (1'000 Ha) covered by forest.

Measurement unit: 
1'000 ha

Land area is the total area (1'000 Ha) of the country excluding area under inland water bodies.

Measurement unit: 
1'000 ha

Land cultivated with long-term crops which do not have to be replanted for several years (such as cocoa and coffee), land under trees and shrubs producing flowers (such as roses and jasmine), and n

Measurement unit: 
1'000 Ha

Land used permanently (five years or more) to grow herbaceous forage crops through cultivation or naturally (wild prairie or grazing land).

Measurement unit: 
1'000 ha

Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT)


Legend: National laws adoption of the VGGT principle
  • Fully adopt
  • Partially adopt
  • Not adopted
  • Missing Value

Note: The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (The VGGTs) were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in 2012.

The "VGGT indicators" dataset has been created by Nicholas K. Tagliarino, PhD Candidate at the University of Groningen, with support from Daniel Babare and Myat Noe (LLB Students, University of Groningen). The indicators assess national laws in 50 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America against international standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement as established by Section 16 of the VGGTs.

Each indicator relates to a principle established in section 16 of the VGGTs. Hold the mouse against the small "i" button above for a more detailed explanation of the indicator.

Answering the questions posed by these indicators entails analyzing a broad range of national-level laws, including national constitutions, land acquisition acts, land acts, community land acts, agricultural land acts, land use regulations, and some court decisions.

Disclaimer: The data displayed on the Land Portal is provided by third parties indicated as the data source or as the data provider. The Land Portal team is constantly working to ensure the highest possible standard of data quality and accuracy, yet the data is by its nature approximate and will contain some inaccuracies. The data may contain errors introduced by the data provider(s) and/or by the Land Portal team. In addition, this page allows you to compare data from different sources, but not all indicators are necessarily statistically comparable. The Land Portal Foundation (A) expressly disclaims the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any data and (B) shall not be liable for any errors, omissions or other defects in, delays or interruptions in such data, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Neither the Land Portal Foundation nor any of its data providers will be liable for any damages relating to your use of the data provided herein.

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