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The modern northwestern ejido under mexican agrarian reform McAlley, Peter Quentin

Abstract

Mexican Land Reform, conceived during the civil war and initiated in the Revolutionary Code of 1917, is responsible for the existence today of three different farming groups. These are the particulares, the private farmers, the ejidatarios, the peasant farmers, and the colonos, the colonist farmers. This study is concerned with the relative fortunes of the three, and especially with the largest numerically, the ejidatarios. This last group has been regarded, and is still so considered, as the worst off. The plight of the ejidatarios seems to be even more acute in modernized areas according to State and national statistics. It is hypothesized here that certain aspects of the Mexican Land Reform work against the better interests of the ejidatarios, particularly in areas where modernized agricultural practices have become the norm. The hypothesis is tested in one of the agriculturally most advanced areas in all Mexico, the Rio Fuerte Irrigation District of Northern Sinaloa. Within this District the performance of the Mexican ejido, peasant holding, is compared with that of the private property farm. The comparison begins with an investigation of all cropping activities in the District, designed to establish the broad differences in performance between the ejidal and private farm groups (Chapter III). It is found:- that the ejidal sector operates its cropland less intensively than the private sector; that the ejidatarios do not compensate for their poorer resource use by obtaining crop yields and prices markedly superior to those of the private sector; and that the ejidatarios obtain a much lower gross income per hectare than the private farmers. In the second stage of comparison, a sample of farms is taken from the most productive sub-area in the District, in order to test the hypothesis and to try to isolate the primary factors hindering the ejidal sector (Chapter IV). The farms selected consist of the ejidal plots where wheat is cultivated in the main crop rotation; and for the purposes of comparing net incomes, wheat-growing private and colono farms are also sampled. It is found that the mean net income per hectare is much lower in the ejidal than in the other two sectors. This cannot be entirely explained by poorer quality land resources, ineptitude, lack of hybrid seed or fertilizer, or by shortage of irrigation water. Nor can it be entirely explained by its somewhat poorer overall yield. Rather is the problem found to be in the nature of the ejidatarios' credit source, the Ejidal Banks, and the operational constraints associated with that source's loan policy. It is shown that the cost of ejidal farm operation is unnecessarily high, because the ejidatarios are not permitted efficient use of their own labour resources; hired labour and machinery are supplied by the Banks to the ejidatarios to cultivate their land and these inappropriated high-cost inputs are charged within the loans given., It is concluded that overmuch modernization is being forced upon the peasant farmers, to the ultimate detriment of their farm's viability, their personal income and living levels, and also that the hypothesis is correct:- The Agrarian Reform Laws have indeed led to operational difficulties and considerable depression of the peasant farmer's net income, though the particular credit system evolved was actually created to benefit him.

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