Land Reform vs Agrarian Reform
Reform is a word that means to improve or rectify a present situation, political or social system, or even an institution. It is mostly a government or authority initiated improvement that aims to bring changes in the lives of its people. The word is inextricably associated with agriculture and land usage and thus we have agrarian reform and land reform. Many people tend to think of both as same and use the terms interchangeably. However, there are differences between land reform and agrarian reform that will be talked about in this article.
What is Land Reform?
Land reform is a term that applies to the relations of the farmers to the land they work upon. Land reform seeks to bring about changes in which land is owned or held by the people, changes in cultivation methods and also changes in the relationship of agriculture with the rest of the economy of a country. Land has traditionally served many different purposes; namely,
• Means of production
• Source of status symbol
• Social and political influence
• Source of wealth and value
With the increase in population, land per capita declines and the value of land rises in a definite proportion. This leads to conflicts between social groups and communities that own the land and those that work upon them. In every country and society, it has been the endeavor of the governments to initiate land reforms so as to bring about a change in the patterns of ownership of land. This basically involves redistribution of land by taking away land from the rich and the powerful and giving it to poor and the landless farmers. This was done purposely to bring about a change in lives of poor peasants to give them a sense of belonging and to boost their self esteem. It had both social as well as political objectives, but it led to social revolution in nations across the world as feudalism gave way to communism and capitalism and democracy across the world.
What is Agrarian Reform?
Agrarian reform is a relatively new term that encompasses all the meanings of land reform but also includes other aspects redirecting agricultural system of an economy to a better situation. While it was land reform alone that topped the priority lists of all governments earlier, it is the agrarian reform that is the buzzword among the authorities in recent decades. This is because of the changing role of the land and agriculture in the development process of a country. Land reform has now merged into agrarian reform because of its relevance and importance in the present scenario. It is not just land redistribution that is sufficient for achieving optimum development though it is more than enough in bringing about social equality and the desired changes in patterns of ownership of land.
Agrarian reform includes land reform as well as changes in farm operations, rural credit, training or farmers, marketing or products, and implementation of the latest technology to enhance the productivity of the farmers.
What is the difference between Land Reform and Agrarian Reform?
• Land reform is a term that was used earlier to bring about changes in the ownership of land, in rural areas.
• Land reform was initiated by governments to achieve their social and political objectives and also to bring about changes in the lives of the poor landless peasants.
• Over the years, it has dawned upon the experts and governments that land reform alone is not sufficient for optimal development. This has led to the introduction of agrarian reform that is a broader term than land reform.
Agrarian reform includes land reform and also addresses education and training of farmers for better produce and marketing, rural credit, easier access to markets, and so on.