Dynamics of the Peasant Territories in Alagoas: The articulation of families settled to expand Agroecology in agrarian reform areas

José Ubiratan Rezende Santana Ana Maria Dubeux Gervais Jorge Luiz Schirmer de Mattos About the authors

Abstract

This article analyzes the process of expanding Agroecology in agrarian reform territories and the nuances of access to the land by peasant families in rural settlements. Agrarian reform settlements are constituted from the organization of peasant families, in their historical struggle for access to the land and regularization of their territories. This change in the land use and tenure regime has meant an increase in the amount and diversity of food produced in these agroecosystems, especially where there are substantiated experiences in Agroecology, which is considered a Science in the field of complexity, used as a reference by the peasant movements to guide the production of healthy and local food, particularly those linked to the traditional and peasant cultures. The study involved two settlements in the state of Alagoas, Flor do Bosque and Dom Helder Câmara, located in the municipalities of Messias and Murici, respectively. The data analyzed were obtained from the diagnosis conducted by the Radis system and from field diary records. The results indicated that the families involved in organic and agroecological production are responsible for an increase in productive diversity, with food produced exclusively by them, with 48% for Flor do Bosque and 39% for Dom Helder Câmara. It was identified, in both settlements, the presence of families without legal ownership of the land, but that produce agroecologically and organically. This fact acquires great relevance, since this directly implies the development of the territorialization of the peasantry in these settlements.

Keywords:
Struggle for the Land; Peasant to Peasant; Territorialization; Agroecological; Production

Resumo

Este artigo analisa o processo de ampliação da Agroecologia em territórios de reforma agrária e as nuances do acesso à terra por famílias camponesas nos assentamentos rurais. Os assentamentos de reforma agrária são constituídos a partir da organização de famílias camponesas, numa busca histórica pelo acesso à terra e pela regularização legal de seus territórios. Essa alteração no regime de uso e posse da terra tem significado o aumento na quantidade e na diversidade de alimentos produzidos nesses agroecossistemas, sobretudo quando há experiências consubstanciadas na Agroecologia, que é considerada uma ciência no campo da complexidade, utilizada como referência pelos movimentos camponeses para orientar a produção de alimentos saudáveis, locais, e com atenção às culturas camponesas e tradicionais. O estudo envolveu dois assentamentos do Estado de Alagoas, Flor do Bosque e Dom Helder Câmara, localizados nos municípios de Messias e de Murici, respectivamente. Os dados analisados foram obtidos do diagnóstico realizado pelo sistema Radis e de registros do diário de campo. Os resultados indicaram que as famílias inseridas na produção de base agroecológica e orgânica são responsáveis por um incremento na diversidade produtiva de 48% no Flor do Bosque e 39% no Dom Helder Câmara, com alimentos produzidos exclusivamente por elas. Identificou-se em ambos os assentamentos a presença de famílias que ainda não detêm a posse legal da terra, mas que produzem de forma agroecológica e orgânica. Tal fato adquire grande relevância, uma vez que isso implica diretamente os desdobramentos da territorialização do campesinato nesses assentamentos.

Palavras-chave:
Luta pela Terra; Camponês a Camponês; Territorialização; Produção Agroecológica

INTRODUCTION

Agroecology emerges as a response to the manifestations of the social and ecological crises caused by the intensification of the industrial logic in agriculture, which, by becoming hegemonic, either physically or by the values of individuality and competitiveness, brought a trend of homogenization to rural communities (GUZMÁN, 2015GUZMÁN, E. S. La participación em la construcción histórica latino-americana de la Agroecología y sus niveles de territorialidade. Politica y Sociedad, Madrid, v. 52, n. 2, 2015. https://doi.org/10.5209/rev_POSO.2015.v52.n2.45205
https://doi.org/10.5209/rev_POSO.2015.v5...
).

The expansion of the Agroecological concept in the territories refers to the quantitative dimension, related to more farmers, communities and organizations in the agroecological field involved in this process; but also to the qualitative dimension of the social organization strategies, construction of local knowledge and consolidation of Agroecology as a reference for the development of peasant territories (VAL, 2019VAL, V. Campesina/o a Campesina/o: Un dispositivo para la masificación de la agroecologia. Congreso Argentino de Agroecología, Mendonza, 2019, p. 1095-1098.). In other words, it means the inclusion of more peasants in more territories in the quest to build fair and sustainable food systems.

There is a close relationship between Agroecology, the reconstruction of territories from the perspective of sustainability, and the recognition of the peasants' role in territorial development. Val et al. (2019VAL, V. Campesina/o a Campesina/o: Un dispositivo para la masificación de la agroecologia. Congreso Argentino de Agroecología, Mendonza, 2019, p. 1095-1098.) called these three components as vectors of the Peasant to Peasant (PtP) method.

PtP is a horizontal process of exchanging knowledge and experiences in the search for greater autonomy and control of the territories by the population that makes up family-based agriculture (ROSSET; TORRES, 2016ROSSET, P. M.; TORRES, M. E. M. Agroecología, território, recampesinización y movimentos sociales. Revista de Investigación Científica, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, México, v. 25, n. 47, p. 275-299, 2016.). PtP seeks to face domination of the territories by the homogenizing trend of industrial agriculture, which is currently operated by large transnational agribusiness corporations (VAL; ROSSET, 2020VAL, V. ROSSET, P. M. Campesino a Campesino: Educación campesina para la resistência y la transformación agroecológica. Revista Brasileira de Educação do Campo. Tocantinópolis, v. 5, n.1, 2020. https://doi.org/10.20873/uft.rbec.e10904
https://doi.org/10.20873/uft.rbec.e10904...
).

In the context of the agrarian reform, the logic of production homogenization shares space with complex and multi-tiered systems (LOPES et al., 2017LOPES, A. W. P.; CARMO, M. S. do; BERGAMASCO, S. M. P. P.; FERRANTE, V. L. S. B. Assentamentos rurais e práticas pedagógicas: uma análise em duas modalidades diferenciadas de assentamento. Espaço de Diálogo e Desconexão, Araraquara, v.9, n.1 e 2, 2017. https://doi.org/10.11606/issn.2595-2536.v26i2p41-55
https://doi.org/10.11606/issn.2595-2536....
), as there are different agricultural production and income generation relationships between the settlements, as well as between families of a same settlement (MOREIRA, 2020MOREIRA, F. G. As relações produtivas nos assentamentos rurais do Município de Nova Andradina/MS. Revista Nera, Presidente Prudente, v. 23, n. 55, 2020. https://doi.org/10.21527/2237-6453.2020.50.72-88
https://doi.org/10.21527/2237-6453.2020....
). Understanding the different peasant dynamics in the agrarian reform settlements allows elucidating how the peasantry is articulated in the process of homogenization and domination of capital in the agrifood sector, called by Ploeg (2008PLOEG, J. D. V. D. Camponeses e Impérios Alimentares. Rio Grande do Sul: Editora da UFRGS, 2008.) as food empires, and how this group devises decentralized strategies to provide food in the territories, especially those with an agroecological or organic basis.

This text aims at addressing the process of expanding Agroecology based on the experience of a type of peasantry that seeks to territorialize itself in agrarian reform areas. To this end, it will be sought to understand how access to legal possession of the territories by peasants in rural settlements occurs and the contribution of this category of farmers in the consolidation of the agroecological strategy.

To obtain detailed data about the settled families, the occupational situation in the settlements (legal possession of the land) and their respective production systems, the database of the Radis system, part of the Radis Project of the Universidade Federal de Viçosa - UFV (Federal University of Viçosa, ) was consulted in partnership with the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária, INCRA). The collections were carried out in April and May 2020. Qualitative information on the organization of the families that are inserted in the agroecological transition process was recorded in a field diary (OLIVEIRA, 2014OLIVEIRA, R. de C. M. de. (Entre)linhas de uma pesquisa: o diário de campo como dispositivo de (in)formação na/da abordagem (auto)biográfica. Revista Brasileira de Educação de Jovens e Adultos, v2., n.4, p. 69-87, 2014.) from January to April 2021.

In the scientific field, this study aims at contributing to the dialog between the themes of territory, Agroecology and peasantry, in the context of agrarian reform settlements, which are politically conquered territories, socially constructed and regulated by the State.

Peasant (re)territorialization in agrarian reform areas

To understand the range of relationships that occur in the territories and their power and conflict relations, it is first necessary to understand the concept of space. Space is a set constituted between the object systems (material, visible) and the action systems (immaterial, processes, disputes, cultures). According to Santos (2006SANTOS, M. A Natureza do Espaço: Técnica e Tempo, Razão e Emoção. São Paulo: Editora da Universidade de São Paulo, 2006.), the importance attributed to a given space is built on the basis of the value that society at some point assigns to each piece of material. For the author, it is society that attributes function and importance to the space.

The concept of space is not disconnected from the territory, as the territory is constituted from the power relations that are established and appropriate the space (SILVA, 2015SILVA, P. A. S. Território: abordagens e concepções. Boletim DATALUTA, Presidente Prudente, n. 96, 2015.). But the space precedes the territory. And, therefore, it is through appropriation of the space that the social actor is territorialized (RAFFESTIN, 1993RAFFESTIN, C. Por uma Geografia do Poder. São Paulo: Editora Ática S.A., 1993.); because, without the power exercised by people or groups, the territory is not defined (BORDO, 2005BORDO, A. A.; SILVA, C. H. P. da; NUNES, M.; BARBOSA, T.; MIRALHA, W. As Diferentes Abordagens do Conceito de Território. In: VI Semana de geografia, 2005, Presidente Prudente. VI Semana de Geografia, 2005.).

When developing a typology of the territories, Fernandes (2009FERNANDES, B. M. Sobre a tipologia de territórios. In: SAQUET, M. A.; SPOSITO, E. S. (Org.) Territórios e Territorialidades: teorias, processos e conflitos. São Paulo: Expressão Popular, 2009. p. 197-216.) described the role of the State in the exercise of power, which, through laws, decrees and other norms, delimits its governance space. Delimiting is manifesting power in a specific area. However, there are territories within the territory, such as private properties, indigenous lands and agrarian reform settlements, which associate state regulation with the social construction of the territory, albeit with distinct territorialities. Territorialization refers to the set of social actions carried out during the occupation process of a given area. But it is not just made up of material elements (HAESBAERT, 1997HAESBAERT, R. Des-territorialização e identidade: a rede “gaúcha” no Nordeste. Niterói: EDUFF, 1997.), because:

As a process of appropriation and control, territorialization is always inscribed in a power field, not only in the sense of physical and material appropriation (across legal-political borders, for example), but also immaterial, symbolic (HAESBAERT, 1997HAESBAERT, R. Des-territorialização e identidade: a rede “gaúcha” no Nordeste. Niterói: EDUFF, 1997., p. 40).

Rosset and Torres (2016ROSSET, P. M.; TORRES, M. E. M. Agroecología, território, recampesinización y movimentos sociales. Revista de Investigación Científica, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, México, v. 25, n. 47, p. 275-299, 2016.) state that there are two strategies for disputes over the territory that the peasantry and its organizations must face. The first is related to the conquest of the material territories that refer to the struggle for access, control, use and (re)configuration of the land. In this case, it is the physical territory consisting of communities, infrastructure, soil, water, biodiversity, mountains, valleys, plains and rivers. The second refers to the immaterial territories, which are the set of ideas, theoretical constructions and peasant concepts. For these authors, there is no material peasant territory without the immaterial territories, and this immaterial territory is also constantly under dispute.

In this sense, there are territories that are conducive to enabling the organization of social groups and, at the same time, curbing the process of peasant deterritorialization, among which are rural settlements. Silva and Cury (2015SILVA, P. A. S. Território: abordagens e concepções. Boletim DATALUTA, Presidente Prudente, n. 96, 2015.) state that, in the context of the agrarian reform, the settled families, previously deterritorialized and prevented from devising other production modes, have the possibility of re-signifying the peasant identity based on the change in the use and possession regime of the territory conquered. For the authors, rural settlements present their own characteristics, distinct from any other property in the rural environment. The fact is that the peasants who live there have life trajectories that allow them to imprint new dynamics on these territories. “The way in which the property is conquered has a sentimental value for the peasants, as it gives them survival in the midst of the capitalist system undertaken” (SILVA; CURY, 2015SILVA, P. A. S. Território: abordagens e concepções. Boletim DATALUTA, Presidente Prudente, n. 96, 2015., p. 25). And it is not surprising, because the struggle for the land is the fight for a certain territory (FERNANDES, 2008FERNANDES, B. M. Entrando nos territórios do território. In: PAULINO, E. T.; FABRINI, J. E. (org.). Campesinato e territórios em disputa. São Paulo: Expressão Popular, 2008. p. 273-302.).

The land conquered through the creation of rural settlements represents “new forms of struggle, belonging to those who have already fought or those who decided to fight for the right to free land and free labor” (OLIVEIRA, 2007OLIVEIRA, A. U. de. Modo de produção capitalista, agricultura e reforma agrária. São Paulo: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH), 2007., p. 137). It also represents the act of deconcentration of private property (MARTINS, 1999MARTINS, J. de S. Reforma Agrária: o impossível diálogo sobre a história possível. Tempo Social, São Paulo, v. 11, n. 2, p. 97-128, 1999.), when this does not meet the legal principles portrayed by the social function of the land; a fact that assures peasants the right to demand change in land use and possession and the duty of the State to enforce a constituent clause.

STUDY AREA

The study was carried out in two agrarian reform settlements: Flor do Bosque, located in the municipality of Messias, and Dom Helder Câmara, belonging to the municipality of Murici, both in the state of Alagoas (Figure 1). Around 75 families are the official residents of these settlements: 33 in Flor do Bosque and 42 in Dom Helder Câmara (INCRA, 2017).

Figure 1
Location of the Flor do Bosque and Dom Helder Câmara settlements in the municipalities of Messias and Murici, respectively.

Access to the Land in Agrarian Reform Settlements

In Brazil, the peasantry brings in its history the search for access to the land, that is, for the possibility of conquering a productive space and setting up a family patrimony capable of keeping their way of life alive.

However, it has always been unable to develop in Brazil, as the option for land concentration was socially recognized and dominant throughout its history. For the peasantry, it remained to resist to the sidelines of the development project adopted for the Brazilian rural environment and fight for access or permanence in their territories (WANDERLEY, 1996WANDERLEY, M. de N. B. Raízes históricas do campesinato brasileiro. In: Encontro anual da ANPOCS, Caxambu, 1996.).

This reality was part of the creation of the two settlements that are part of this study, that is, both the Flor do Bosque Settlement and the Dom Helder Câmara Settlement were conquered through processes of struggle and conflict in the territories. The instrument used by the peasants was the constitution of encampments on the margins of the rural properties, with the purpose of denouncing non-fulfillment of the property's social function. The insertion of the social function of the property in the public policy “enabled peasant families to create organizational strategies to gain access to the land and seek legal security in the conquered territories” (GONDIM, 2018GONDIM, C. H. N. Entre vitórias e derrotas: a função social da terra na constituição de 1988 versus o direito de propriedade absoluto. Uma análise do caso da Usina Cambahyba. In: Revista de Direito Agrário: 30 Anos da Constituição Federal de 1988. Brasília: INCRA, p. 107-130, 2018., p. 112).

With conquest of the land, the peasant families became part of the Sistema de Informações de Projetos de Reforma Agrária (SIPRA) (Information System for Agrarian Reform Projects), responsible for maintaining the registration of each beneficiary of the agrarian reform at the national level.

For the families, being included in the SIPRA means the possibility of obtaining the first access to the land's legal documentation, through the Contrato de Concessão de Uso -CCU - (Use Concession Agreement). As pointed out by Silva and Cury (2015SILVA, P. A. S. Território: abordagens e concepções. Boletim DATALUTA, Presidente Prudente, n. 96, 2015.), it is worth noting that, historically, the way in which this group managed to gain access to this common good was through leasing, precarious ownership, or even as sharecroppers and rural workers on the farms.

However, the process of peasant territorialization is dynamic and does not end with conquest of the settlement. The fact is that the survey of the occupational situation in the studied areas evidenced that there is a claim for access to the land in areas already officially constituted as settlements, that is, there are peasants occupying lots in these settlements, claiming access to the agrarian reform program and their regularization in the settlement. However, in this situation, occupation of these lots is officially considered as irregular (INCRA, 2019). These situations considered irregular refer to the families or people who live in lots destined for production, within the settlements, but who have not gone through the official selection process. These families plead with the INCRA for regularization to become officially settled and be able to gain legal access to the land (Table 1).

Table 1
Survey of the occupational situation of the lots in the Flor do Bosque and Dom Helder Câmara settlements

The settlement capacity refers to the study carried out by the INCRA to identify, based on technical-productive parameters, the number of families that can benefit from each settlement. Officially settled families are those included in the SIPRA list.

The Flor do Bosque settlement has a total of 350.8 hectares (ha), of which nearly 70 ha are destined to the constitution of the Reserva Legal - RL (Legal Reserve), 10 ha for the collective activities or enterprises and around 270 ha for the production lots, which represents approximately 7.0 ha for each family. The diagnosis carried out with the 37 families identified in the settlement, divided between regular (27) and irregular (10), was carried out in each lot destined for production.

The Dom Helder Câmara Settlement has 303.53 ha, with 24.0 ha destined for the RL area; nearly 8.0 ha are exclusive for collective activities or enterprises and around 271 ha are divided into production lots, which equal to a mean of 5.0 ha per family.

In both settlements, a number of families larger than the officially foreseen capacity for the area is noticed. This stems from three main reasons: (1) the presence of families occupying legal reserve areas; (2) the division of lots with other families; and (3) the need to update the capacity of the settlement after dividing the rural property into lots. In these cases, there are two critical situations that can result in the removal of such families from the settlement area: first, because there is no legal provision to settle families in areas intended for the RL, since the function of this environment is to “provide rehabilitation of ecological processes and promote the conservation of biodiversity, as well as the shelter and protection of wild fauna and native flora” (BRASIL, 2012). Second, because the division of lots can reduce them to dimensions below the minimum subdivision fraction (Fração Mínima de Parcelamento, FMP), which is the smallest area in which a rural property can be broken down. For the municipalities of Messias and Murici, where the Flor do Bosque and Dom Helder Câmara settlements are located, respectively, the FMP is 4.0 ha. Thus, there is no possibility of dividing and regularizing these lots in any of the two settlements, turning the claim of the families who divided the lot into a process that cannot be guaranteed by the parameters of law.

For the peasant family to have its occupation regularized in a settlement area, it must cumulatively meet the following criteria: having started occupation before December 22nd, 2015; meeting the eligibility criteria for the agrarian reform; assuming the debts that the former beneficiary may have contracted with the INCRA; and there should not be any candidates in the surplus list for the plot (INCRA, 2019). The agrarian reform eligibility criteria configure a social profile that must be met by the families that claim to access the Programa Nacional de Reforma Agrária - PNRA (National Agrarian Reform Program), namely: not holding public office, although the law points out certain exceptions; not having been a beneficiary of the agrarian reform; not owning another rural property, with the exception of those that have insufficient area to support themselves and their families; not owning a company; being over 18 years old, or emancipated under the civil law; and not earning any income from non-agricultural activities exceeding three monthly minimum wages or one minimum wage per capita (INCRA, 2019).

The aforementioned criteria delimit the profile of those who can access the agrarian reform areas, which are destined for families that do not have the financial conditions to acquire land. And, although the law has created a certain amnesty rule for occupations carried out before December 22nd, 2015, and even without legislating on situations involving commercial relations in the transfer of land, land reform lots are non-negotiable, as they deal with land of which the families have the use concession (CCU), governed by a contract between the federal government and the beneficiaries.

It should be noted, however, that not all those who plead for regularization of the lots in settlement areas can be considered family farmers or peasants. In these cases, the land reform lot is acquired through appropriation of the public space, or even through purchase. This situation was identified in the Flor do Bosque settlement, totaling seven irregular occupations in the legal reserve area, with the construction of masonry residences, belonging to non-beneficiaries of the agrarian reform, part of which use the occupied areas as a farm for weekend leisure. Such situation created an atmosphere of conflict in the settlement, reason why it was not possible to carry out the diagnosis with the people in these occupations.

And, in this case, the reality of the settlements - divided between peasants benefiting from the agrarian reform and families claiming a plot of land in areas of already established settlements - evidences that the conformation process of the territories takes place at different scales and in different contexts (FERNANDES, 2008FERNANDES, B. M. Entrando nos territórios do território. In: PAULINO, E. T.; FABRINI, J. E. (org.). Campesinato e territórios em disputa. São Paulo: Expressão Popular, 2008. p. 273-302.). This conflict can have a temporary or permanent character, that is, creation of the settlement configures the conquest, in a certain period of time, for certain families, but it can also represent the beginning of the struggle for other families.

Territorialization of the Agroecological Design in Agricultural Reform Areas

In the settlements, the forms of organization, the productive strategies and the types of relationships that are established are as diverse as the subjects that comprise them. In the reality under study, it was identified that both settlements are related to the struggle for the land at the local and global levels, as well as to organizational processes related to the consolidation of the agroecological strategy. There is the presence of organizations already established in the territories, such as social movements and settlement associations, in addition to the insertion of families in innovative processes in the state of Alagoas, as is the case of participatory certification through the Sistemas Participativos de Garantia da Qualidade Orgânica - SPG (Participatory Organic Quality Assurance Systems) (Figure 2).

The GSP are part of the legal framework that defines the strategies to ensure that a product, process or service meets the technical regulation defined for organic production, with the possibility of using the organic product seal accepted throughout the national territory (HIRATA et al., 2020HIRATA, A. R.; ROCHA, L. C. D. da; BERGAMASCO, S. M. P. P. Panorama nacional dos sistemas participativos de garantia. In: HIRATA, A. R.; ROCHA, L. C. D. (Org.) Sistemas participativos de garantia no Brasil: histórias e experiências. Pouso Alegre: IFSuldeminas, 2020. p. 13-48.).

The organizations present in the settlements support and articulate the peasants' different experiences. They are also geared towards the production of an agro-ecological base and provide training opportunities for all the families. The training in Agroecology carried out by peasant organizations evidences the multidimensionality of Agroecology, which is not restricted to the productive aspects, as it is also political (AZEVEDO et al., 2019AZEVEDO, H. P.; ASSIS, W. S. de; SOUSA, R. da P. Agroecossistemas de camponeses agroextrativistas na Amazônia brasileira: uma reflexão a partir da Agroecologia política. Revista Brasileira de Agroecologia, Dois Vizinhos (PR), v. 14, n. 2, p. 51-64, 2019. https://doi.org/10.33240/rba.v14i2.22950
https://doi.org/10.33240/rba.v14i2.22950...
), applied science, questioning the problems of land concentration (CAPORAL, 2015CAPORAL, F. R. Extensão rural e agroecologia: para um novo desenvolvimento rural, necessário e possível. Camaragibe, PE: Ed. do coordenador, 2015.), a struggle banner of the social movements and a reference for the social construction of territories.

In the technical-productive aspect, Agroecology is not unanimous in the settlements, although it has been gradually materialized by actions of groups of peasants. Even so, there is great diversity in the cultivation of food in both settlements studied, both conventionally (Table 2) and agroecologically (Table 3).

Figure 2
Social organizations in which the families of Flor do Bosque and Dom Helder Câmara Settlements take part.

Table 2
Conventional agricultural production in the Flor do Bosque and Dom Helder Câmara settlements - 2019/2020 agricultural year
Table 3
Agricultural production of the families of the Flor do Bosque and Dom Helder Câmara settlements in agroecological transition - 2019/2020 agricultural year

Initially, it is important to point out the evident relevance of the agrarian reform settlements in food production. The Flor do Bosque settlement annually produces around 301,974 kg of foodstuffs and the Dom Helder Câmara settlement produces 380,395 kg, corresponding to a total of 682,369 kg of foodstuffs. Of this total, around 38% (260,580 kg) refers to the production of the lots whose peasant families adhered to the agroecological transition process (Figure 3).

The Agroecological transition is a gradual process of change, involving aspects of production and sustainable use of the agroecosystems, but also other dimensions of Agroecology, such as the socio-cultural and political, the socioeconomic and ecological-productive ones (GUZMÁN, 2015GUZMÁN, E. S. La participación em la construcción histórica latino-americana de la Agroecología y sus niveles de territorialidade. Politica y Sociedad, Madrid, v. 52, n. 2, 2015. https://doi.org/10.5209/rev_POSO.2015.v52.n2.45205
https://doi.org/10.5209/rev_POSO.2015.v5...
).

Figure 3
Conventional and agroecological transition production in the Dom Helder Câmara and Flor do Bosque settlements.

The families involved in agroecological-based production are those that make up the process for creating the SPG, called SPG Bem Viver. The strategy for setting up the SPG resulted in the assembling of two groups in both settlements: the Embaúba group, in Flor do Bosque, and the Juçara group, in Dom Helder Câmara. The groups are part of an instance of the SPG, with autonomy to develop the participatory organic certification process of their peers. In the meantime, new peasants from the settlements have been included in the context of agroecological and organic-based production.

In the constitution process of the GSP, autonomy and greater control of production and territories by the local subjects are exercised through the Peasant-to-Peasant (PtP) method. In a peer-to-peer relationship, the peasants visit production units, point out suggestions for improving production systems, exchange seeds and seedlings, articulate short marketing circuits to sell products, participate in training on Agroecology and organic production, and consolidate new ways of life in the territories.

PtP is one of the various methodologies used to stimulate the construction of agroecological knowledge in the territories and the development of ecologically-based agriculture, with the peasants' protagonism and autonomy (VAL, 2019VAL, V. Campesina/o a Campesina/o: Un dispositivo para la masificación de la agroecologia. Congreso Argentino de Agroecología, Mendonza, 2019, p. 1095-1098.). Peasant autonomy represents strengths of the social dynamics; it is the opposite of dependence, which generates weakness or vulnerability (ROSSET; BARBOSA, 2021ROSSET, P. M.; BARBOSA, L. P. Autonomía y los movimientos sociales del campo em América Latina: um debate urgente. Aposta, Madrid, n. 89, p. 8-31, 2021.).

The proposal for participatory organic certification carried out by the Juçara group and the Embaúba groups is based on principles that go beyond technical production parameters, as they include social elements that encourage greater cooperation among the participants (Figure 4).

Figure 4
Principles that are guiding the constitution of SPG Bem Viver.

These guiding principles demarcate aspects of the immaterial construction in the territories. They also have among their objectives a transversal character of search for autonomy and social control of agroecological and organic production by the peasants themselves. The production developed by the Juçara and Embaúba groups has great relevance from the point of view of diversity and the significant food supply for the territories. For example, the Embaúba group produced 90% (26) of the 29 items produced in the Flor do Bosque settlement, with 48% (14) of the items produced exclusively by its members.

A similar situation was identified in the Juçara group, which produced 92% (23) of the 25 items produced in the settlement, with 39% (9 items) being produced exclusively by the peasants in the group.

Two aspects need to be highlighted in relation to these experiences. First, the diversity in both groups, which is influenced by the insertion of peasants into short marketing circuits, which promotes greater interaction with consumers and experimentation of new crops demanded by those who buy the food. The articulation around the promotion of Agroecology and the exchange of experiences and seeds in the SPG activities also collaborate to expanding productive diversity in the lots. In the dynamics of the SPG, when a new crop is adopted, the peasants share the experience with the other members of the group through photographs and videos. This sharing of local experiences and innovations is a practice of sharing and solidarity inherent in the PtP process (ROSSET; BARBOSA, 2021ROSSET, P. M.; BARBOSA, L. P. Autonomía y los movimientos sociales del campo em América Latina: um debate urgente. Aposta, Madrid, n. 89, p. 8-31, 2021.).

The second relevant highlight to be pointed out refers to the process of peasant territorialization in the context of the agrarian reform. There lie issues to be recorded in this paper, as well as notes for future studies on the subject matter. That is, based on the assumption that the agrarian reform contributes to overcoming a historical weakness of the peasantry regarding the legal possession of their lands (SILVA; CURY, 2015SILVA, P. A. S. Território: abordagens e concepções. Boletim DATALUTA, Presidente Prudente, n. 96, 2015.), which guarantees legal security of such territories, as presented in the previous subsection, it is not enough to be a peasant to be able to claim access to the agrarian reform program, nor are Agroecology and organic production criteria for inclusion. In a hypothetical situation, a peasant from the Juçara group or from the Embaúba group who is in an irregular situation may have the right to remain on the land denied and can be replaced by another family of farmers who will not necessarily develop agroecological-based production experiences.

Therefore, the agroecological-based peasant territorialization in areas of the agrarian reform is a topic that needs further deepening in light of the legal requirements, but also of the multidimensional aspects that involve protection of these territories for the development of the peasant way of life. In this study, we show the relevance of settled peasants for food production, whether conventional or agroecological, for the generation of autonomy in the territories, in access to and social control of public policies, such as the constitution of the GSP; but we highlight, based on the data presented, the contribution of the peasantry in reorganizing the territories that previously suffered a land homogenization and concentration process, as a result of the development model based on industrial-based agriculture.

The GSP conformation strategy embodied in the PtP method, in addition to aiming for access to the organic certification process, also seeks to establish greater control of the territory by the peasants and to expand agroecological-based experiences with the incorporation of new members to the groups, even if the peasant's situation of regularity in the agrarian reform has not yet been reached.

Finally, corroborating the notes by Rosset and Torres (2016ROSSET, P. M.; TORRES, M. E. M. Agroecología, território, recampesinización y movimentos sociales. Revista de Investigación Científica, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, México, v. 25, n. 47, p. 275-299, 2016.), it is worth noting that the dispute for territories carried out by the peasants seeks not only conquest of the land, but also a dispute for more inclusive territorial development ideas and projects. The expansion of Agroecology is a debate that has permeated the literature; firstly, due to its expansion in area and number of farmers (scaling-out); and secondly, to institutionalization in support policies (scaling-up). In both strategies for expanding Agroecology, the agrarian reform is inserted as an instrument capable of materializing experiences based on the peasants' knowledge and practice.

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

The peasantry maintains an active struggle for access to the land. Land is understood as a means to achieve greater autonomy, whether in the management of the conquered territories or in the organization of production. In this text, from the experience of the Dom Helder Câmara and Flor do Bosque settlements, we discuss how the agrarian reform makes it possible to establish processes of territorialization of the peasantry; first, due to the existence of legal frameworks that enable allocation of land to the farmers; and second, through the collective organization of the peasantry in processes that involve access to and permanence on the land.

However, it is necessary to deepen the fact that there are also peasants who claim access to the land in already established settlements. The experiences in Agroecology and organic production carried out on these land plots are as vulnerable as the permanence of these families in the territory, as it is necessary for them to fit into a certain profile defined by the agrarian reform legislation in order not to be deterritorialized. If agroecological and organic-based production make it possible to expand and diversify the food supply for the population, we ask: Is it possible to incorporate this parameter in the legislation that governs the eligibility criteria for the agrarian reform, as well as for the regularization of irregularly occupied lots? These questions would improve the agrarian reform public policy that we indicate as necessary for greater depth in future essays on the subject matter.

Finally, it is worth noting that protecting the peasant territories also means the opportunity to expand experiences in Agroecology, from the generation of diversified food products and the development of local strategies to ensure social control of the production, such as the process of creating the GSP embodied in the PtP methodology.

The peasants' tenacity in their territory makes this group develop experiences capable of influencing the dialectic between the material and immaterial territories. The territories with presence of the peasantry and their experiences in Agroecology, in addition to producing food, generate new values and new principles, beyond the dominant and homogenizing logic implemented by industrial-based agriculture.

REFERENCES

  • AZEVEDO, H. P.; ASSIS, W. S. de; SOUSA, R. da P. Agroecossistemas de camponeses agroextrativistas na Amazônia brasileira: uma reflexão a partir da Agroecologia política. Revista Brasileira de Agroecologia, Dois Vizinhos (PR), v. 14, n. 2, p. 51-64, 2019. https://doi.org/10.33240/rba.v14i2.22950
    » https://doi.org/10.33240/rba.v14i2.22950
  • BORDO, A. A.; SILVA, C. H. P. da; NUNES, M.; BARBOSA, T.; MIRALHA, W. As Diferentes Abordagens do Conceito de Território. In: VI Semana de geografia, 2005, Presidente Prudente. VI Semana de Geografia, 2005.
  • BRASIL. Lei nº 12.651 de 25 de maio de 2012. Available: http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_ato2011-2014/2012/lei/l12651.htm Accessed: 08 fev. 2021.
    » http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_ato2011-2014/2012/lei/l12651.htm
  • CAPORAL, F. R. Extensão rural e agroecologia: para um novo desenvolvimento rural, necessário e possível. Camaragibe, PE: Ed. do coordenador, 2015.
  • FERNANDES, B. M. Entrando nos territórios do território. In: PAULINO, E. T.; FABRINI, J. E. (org.). Campesinato e territórios em disputa. São Paulo: Expressão Popular, 2008. p. 273-302.
  • FERNANDES, B. M. Sobre a tipologia de territórios. In: SAQUET, M. A.; SPOSITO, E. S. (Org.) Territórios e Territorialidades: teorias, processos e conflitos. São Paulo: Expressão Popular, 2009. p. 197-216.
  • GONDIM, C. H. N. Entre vitórias e derrotas: a função social da terra na constituição de 1988 versus o direito de propriedade absoluto. Uma análise do caso da Usina Cambahyba. In: Revista de Direito Agrário: 30 Anos da Constituição Federal de 1988. Brasília: INCRA, p. 107-130, 2018.
  • GUZMÁN, E. S. La participación em la construcción histórica latino-americana de la Agroecología y sus niveles de territorialidade. Politica y Sociedad, Madrid, v. 52, n. 2, 2015. https://doi.org/10.5209/rev_POSO.2015.v52.n2.45205
    » https://doi.org/10.5209/rev_POSO.2015.v52.n2.45205
  • HAESBAERT, R. Des-territorialização e identidade: a rede “gaúcha” no Nordeste. Niterói: EDUFF, 1997.
  • HIRATA, A. R.; ROCHA, L. C. D. da; BERGAMASCO, S. M. P. P. Panorama nacional dos sistemas participativos de garantia. In: HIRATA, A. R.; ROCHA, L. C. D. (Org.) Sistemas participativos de garantia no Brasil: histórias e experiências. Pouso Alegre: IFSuldeminas, 2020. p. 13-48.
  • INCRA, 2017. Instituto nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária. Painel dos Assentamentos. Available: https://painel.incra.gov.br/sistemas/index.php Accessed: 01 fev. 2021.
    » https://painel.incra.gov.br/sistemas/index.php
  • INCRA, 2019. Instrução Normativa nº 99, de 30 de dezembro de 2019. Available: https://www.in.gov.br/web/dou/-/instrucao-normativa-n-99-de-30-de-dezembro-de-2019-236098411 Accessed: 08 fev. 2021.
    » https://www.in.gov.br/web/dou/-/instrucao-normativa-n-99-de-30-de-dezembro-de-2019-236098411
  • LOPES, A. W. P.; CARMO, M. S. do; BERGAMASCO, S. M. P. P.; FERRANTE, V. L. S. B. Assentamentos rurais e práticas pedagógicas: uma análise em duas modalidades diferenciadas de assentamento. Espaço de Diálogo e Desconexão, Araraquara, v.9, n.1 e 2, 2017. https://doi.org/10.11606/issn.2595-2536.v26i2p41-55
    » https://doi.org/10.11606/issn.2595-2536.v26i2p41-55
  • MARTINS, J. de S. Reforma Agrária: o impossível diálogo sobre a história possível. Tempo Social, São Paulo, v. 11, n. 2, p. 97-128, 1999.
  • MOREIRA, F. G. As relações produtivas nos assentamentos rurais do Município de Nova Andradina/MS. Revista Nera, Presidente Prudente, v. 23, n. 55, 2020. https://doi.org/10.21527/2237-6453.2020.50.72-88
    » https://doi.org/10.21527/2237-6453.2020.50.72-88
  • OLIVEIRA, A. U. de. Modo de produção capitalista, agricultura e reforma agrária. São Paulo: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH), 2007.
  • OLIVEIRA, R. de C. M. de. (Entre)linhas de uma pesquisa: o diário de campo como dispositivo de (in)formação na/da abordagem (auto)biográfica. Revista Brasileira de Educação de Jovens e Adultos, v2., n.4, p. 69-87, 2014.
  • PLOEG, J. D. V. D. Camponeses e Impérios Alimentares. Rio Grande do Sul: Editora da UFRGS, 2008.
  • RAFFESTIN, C. Por uma Geografia do Poder. São Paulo: Editora Ática S.A., 1993.
  • ROSSET, P. M.; BARBOSA, L. P. Autonomía y los movimientos sociales del campo em América Latina: um debate urgente. Aposta, Madrid, n. 89, p. 8-31, 2021.
  • ROSSET, P. M.; TORRES, M. E. M. Agroecología, território, recampesinización y movimentos sociales. Revista de Investigación Científica, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, México, v. 25, n. 47, p. 275-299, 2016.
  • SANTOS, M. A Natureza do Espaço: Técnica e Tempo, Razão e Emoção. São Paulo: Editora da Universidade de São Paulo, 2006.
  • SILVA, D. dos S.; CURY, M. J. F. A Identidade Camponesa dos Assentamentos do MST no Brasil. Revista Geographia Opportuno Tempore, Londrina-PR, v. 1, n. 4, p. 22-35, 2015.
  • SILVA, P. A. S. Território: abordagens e concepções. Boletim DATALUTA, Presidente Prudente, n. 96, 2015.
  • VAL, V.; ROSSET, P. M.; LOMELI, C. Z.; GIRALDO, O. F.; ROCHELEAU, D. Agroecology and La Via Campesina I. The symbolic and material construction of agroecology though the dispositive of “peasant-to-peasant” processes. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. v. 43, n. 7-8, 2019, p. 872-894. https://doi.org/10.1080/21683565.2019.1600099
    » https://doi.org/10.1080/21683565.2019.1600099
  • VAL, V. Campesina/o a Campesina/o: Un dispositivo para la masificación de la agroecologia. Congreso Argentino de Agroecología, Mendonza, 2019, p. 1095-1098.
  • VAL, V. ROSSET, P. M. Campesino a Campesino: Educación campesina para la resistência y la transformación agroecológica. Revista Brasileira de Educação do Campo. Tocantinópolis, v. 5, n.1, 2020. https://doi.org/10.20873/uft.rbec.e10904
    » https://doi.org/10.20873/uft.rbec.e10904
  • WANDERLEY, M. de N. B. Raízes históricas do campesinato brasileiro. In: Encontro anual da ANPOCS, Caxambu, 1996.

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    16 Mar 2022
  • Date of issue
    2022

History

  • Received
    30 June 2021
  • Accepted
    18 Oct 2021
  • Published
    20 Dec 2021
Editora da Universidade Federal de Uberlândia - EDUFU Av. João Naves de Ávila, 2121 - Bloco 5M – Sala 302B, 38400902 - Uberlândia - Minas Gerais - Brasil, +55 (34) 3239- 4549 - Uberlândia - MG - Brazil
E-mail: sociedade.natureza@ig.ufu.br