Agrarian Reform and Rural Development – Mapping the Terrain

Context of the study

The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program/CARP of the Philippine Govern­ment commenced in 1988, with the objective of providing security of tenure on land for small farmers and also of providing support services to its beneficiaries in such forms as capital, marketing support and infra­structure in order to improve both productivity and from farming. Funding for CARP is set to terminate in June 2008, the 20th anniversary of the program, yet the objectives have only been partly met.  The largest landholdings have not yet been distributed, and these present the most significant political challenge: that of small farmers who are still without their own land. Basic food security for many small farmers’ families remains unmet, as do the income requirements in order to ensure access to basic services such as education or basic health care requirements. There is still a pressing demand for land and support services among the rural poor.

Description of the existing problem

For many years a number of EED partners in the Philippines have been engaged in development programs with agrarian reform beneficiaries and in various forms of advocacy on agrarian reform, both on the provincial as well as on the national level. All of those partners are advocating for a continued program of agra­rian reform. Access to resources for the poor, as a basis and condition for food security, is an important objective of the EED program for the Philippines.   Of those tillers of land who have still not been covered by the agrarian reform program are many of the poorest cultivators in the country who cultivate and work on land that is the most challenging administratively and politically to distribute. In some in­stances land has been covered and paid for but remains undistributed and still under the control of its former owner or is subject to a single collective title which still leaves cultivators uncertain as to their security of tenure and unable to access necessary production support.

Within civil society in the Philippines there are many networks and political groupings with different strategies and political options for the future of the CARP after 2008. The current diverse debate makes it difficult for partners and EED to define strategy and rely on advocacy net­works divided from one another.  This study will endeavour to determine the framework and implications of the current debates. This study will be the basis for dis­cussion in a forth­coming EED Partner Workshop in 2008. The study should help EED, and its partners, to define their own strategies.

Objectives of the study

  1. To provide an overview of the present positioning of the different civil society networks on CARP and the debates with regard to the future of CARP after 2008,
  2. To determine and analyse the different strategies of various networks in relation to expiry of CARP,
  3. To assist partners and EED to define their own strategies concerning the future of CARP and/or alternative development strategies.

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