Dear Mrs. Minister Tereza Cristina,
The Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture recognizes the effort from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) and Deputy Zé Silva, rapporteur of the Provisional Measure (MP) 910/2019, in improving the original document of the MP 910/2019. We stress the progress of the current report, presented on May 4, 2020, to not change the timeline currently in place, since this decision strengthens the Forest Code. It leads to stopping the cycle of periodically postponing the deadline to legalize land occupation and, therefore, sends a strong message to invaders that this situation can no longer repeat or continue.
However, the current report exacerbates still unsolved problems, such as the waiver of an in-person inspection for occupations of up to 15 fiscal modules. The proposal presented by the Coalition recommends the waiver of an in-person inspection of properties of up to four fiscal modules, which would solve the situation of 102,000 (95% of the total) private properties without titles registered with INCRA. The increase of self-declaration from 4 to 15 fiscal modules increases the area to be provided by 52% (from 5.4 million hectares to 8.4 million hectares), with only 4,898 additional landholders.
We did not find technical reasons for any of the interested parties for this expansion in only 4.5% of the properties since the proposal sent by the Coalition already contemplates small landholders. It is precisely in this small percentage of properties that lies the higher risk of the MP becoming a stimulus to land grabbing.
Besides, although the current report has removed the definition of an environmental infraction, it establishes that only properties under seizure or environmental violation after the depletion of administrative procedures are subject to mandatory inspection. Also, the MP proposes to exonerate the land tenure agency with remote mechanisms. Still, it does not take into consideration that the same remote instruments – that in MAPA’s opinion are enough to determine land occupation and proper use – are also used to determine illegal deforestation. We suggest that the MP contemplates the use of these tools to verify illegalities.
We hope that the Ministry of Agriculture and Congress can accept our latest contributions. The approval of this MP with a waiver of inspections limited to properties with up to 4 fiscal modules and the requirement of compliance with environmental laws will promote a vital land tenure legalization policy towards the sustainable future of land use. This type of policy is the one embraced by the most diverse sectors of society during the sensitive moment in which the country deserves to give good news and make a tremendous socio-economic and environmental commitment to the world. It would be a real political intelligence and win-win move, as well as an eternal legacy from the government.
Lastly, we suggest that, from a possible approval of this MP 910 focusing exclusively on small owners, a new process of discussion on land tenure legislation for medium landowners begin. The Brazilian Coalition will be available to contribute to this process.
André Guimarães – Coalition’s Co-Facilitator and Executive-Director of the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM)
Marcello Brito – Coalition’s Co-Facilitator and President of the Board of Directors of the Brazilian Agribusiness Association (Abag)