Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Colombian Llanos Orientales (Eastern Plains) as Part of the FARC Peace Agreement (?)

The Llanos Orientales, as large as 16-17 million ha and roughly about one quarter of Colombia's territory, are seen by some as a possible solution for the large amounts of landless small farmers (campesinos) who became IDPs during Colombia's domestic conflict. Possibly this solution is part of the (preliminary) Agrarian Reform Agreement that was recently reached as a first result of the FARC peace negotiations that are still continuing in Havana, Cuba. The Llanos Orientales, including the states (departmentos) of Arauca, Casanare, Meta and Vichada, is still - for the greater part - unused land, existing of savannas with plenty of rainfall and sunshine and an oxisol/ultisol soil type. It has been demonstrated that  the physical conditions of the soil are usually best under permanent grassland (or forest). When the soil is cultivated, these conditions usually deteriorate at a rate dependent of climate, soil texture and bad management. Significant negative effects have been found of continued cropping on the physical properties of soils in the Llanos.

Llanos Orientales de Colombia

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The (Preliminary) Agrarian Reform Agreement of the FARC Peace Talks

It took the FARC and the Colombian government more than 6 months to reach an agreement on the 1st of 6 items of the Peace Process Agenda: Agrarian Reform. It's still a preliminary agreement, because of the condition "that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed" and because the final agreement will be submitted to a referendum of the Colombian people. The full text of the Agrarian Reform  agreement was not disclosed so few details could be renegotiated later in the peace talks if necessary. However, a joint communique was issued that discloses the headlines of the preliminary agreement. Surprisingly a few days later Santos revealed some more details on Radio Caracol. It's an important milestone. Agrarian reform was on the FARC's wishlist since their very existence. For the Colombian government it is an important issue as well, because land conflicts in Colombia are and have been the main source of violence. The communique looks very promising...on paper. It will be a real challenge to realize and enforce it.