Mexico plans historic land reform to boost investment

If the reform is passed as planned, it could be the most dramatic overhaul of rural land rights since a 1992 reform.
If the reform is passed as planned, it could be the most dramatic overhaul of rural land rights since a 1992 reform.

By Gabriel Stargardter and Dave Graham / Reuters

Mexico’s government is drawing up a land reform to strengthen the rights of private companies dealing with rural landholders in a bid to lure investment and lift the economy, according to two people familiar with the plan.

The legislation being drafted will draw on an energy reform completed last year that gave the government more power to act in favor of investors in disputes with communal landholders over usage of rural areas such as those known as ejidos, said the two officials from the government and the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Part of a wider agricultural reform, the sensitive issue of how to create a firmer legal footing for developers without inflaming protests from poor landholders is with the ministry of agrarian, territorial and urban development, the sources said on condition of anonymity.

With almost half of Mexico’s population living in poverty, a large part of them in rural areas, the rights of communal landholders, or ejidatarios, have long been protected in Mexico.

President Enrique Pena Nieto risks major opposition to the reform plan, especially from left-wing groups.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/14/mexico-reforms-idUSL1N0Y301420150514

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