Land Concentration in Mexico after PROCEDE

January, 2006
Promised Land Competing Visions of Agrarian Reform

Profound agrarian reform in twentieth-century Mexico began with the revolution of 1910 and ended with the World Bank. In 1992, neoliberal planners under Bank guidance began to drive a series of counterreforms to the agrarian legislation established in Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution, with the objective of making land tenancy more secure in terms of private property. The Program for Certification of Ejidal Rights (PROCEDE) was set in motion in 1993, as the instrument that would give juridical stability to land tenancy, regularize agrarian rights, and grant individual property certificates to ejidatarios (people who live on ejidos, land owned and supported by the government). The most fervent reformers wanted to push the plan to privatize the social sector’s area in just two years (1993–1994); their critics assumed that the program would be rejected by a popular groundswell, which would cement opposition to the reforms. After ten years of PROCEDE’s operation, neither has occurred.
Mexico’s arable land area has still not been entirely certified, yet neither has there been a massive rejection of PROCEDE. This chapter is a first attempt to estimate the impact of PROCEDE on agrarian conflicts and on the concentration of land in Mexico.