Land Invasion: A Problem with No Real Solution

Because the area of stolen land in Guatemala has grown from about 10,000 hectares in the 1990s to 164,000 in 2018, losses in agricultural production caused by this phenomenon reached nearly $650 million last year.

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Chamber of Agriculture (Camagro) estimates that only in 2018, invasions of private property, mainly agricultural production farms, generated a negative impact equivalent to 0.6% of Gross Domestic Product.

Nils Leporowski, president of Camagro, told Prensalibre.com that "... The 2018 is the longest period of invasions that have been recorded in the country according to historical data and is the first time that an economic calculation is made. Eighty percent of the invasions are concentrated in Izabal, Alta Verapaz, Quiché and Petén, which are areas where businessmen have stopped taking care of their property."

Leporowski added that "... the owners have stopped working certain areas of the territory, working days and a good percentage of that problem is in the Polochic Valley, Alta Verapaz and El Estor in Izabal."

Leporowski's explanation agrees with the latest recorded events, since on several occasions the business chambers have denounced that in the area from the Polochic Valley to Izabal, organized crime groups operate, thus affecting productive activity in the area. This situation became evident after a patrol of the Guatemalan Army Marine Infantry was ambushed in the municipality of El Estor, in Izabal, in early September, where three soldiers were killed.

According to the report prepared by Central American Business Intelligence (Cabi), at Camagro's request, the most affected crops are African palm for the production of oil, bananas and coffee.

Guatemala is not the only economy reporting losses in 2018 as a result of the invasion of productive land. Since the crisis broke out in April, Nicaragua has seen the appropriation of more than 5,500 hectares, of which 43% corresponded to agricultural crops and another 44% to livestock production.

As a result of this problem, the affected companies decided to suspend their investment plans.



More on this topic

Land Invasion: Growing Problem in the Region

November 2019

To the denouncements made in recent months by businessmen from Guatemala and Nicaragua, is added that of a Honduran union, which denounces the invasion of 3,400 manzanas of productive land.

In September 2019, the Chamber of Agriculture denounced that because the area of usurped land in Guatemala has grown from 10,000 hectares to 164,000 hectares since the 1990s, losses in agricultural production caused by this phenomenon reached nearly $650 million last year.

Request to Recover Territory Control

September 2019

After three soldiers were killed in Izabal, Guatemalan business sector asks the government to regain control of the territories where criminal groups dominate.

On several occasions, business chambers have denounced that organized crime groups operate in the area from the Polochic Valley to Izabal, thus affecting productive activity in the area.

Insecurity and Uncertainty

March 2018

Salvadoran business owners point out that the main causes of the country's poor economic performance is still growing insecurity and a lack of a clear political course.

The Salvadoran business chambers agree that the beginning of the year has not been the best, since the obstacles that for several months have made it difficult to operate and grow private sector activities still remain.

Guatemala: Agro to grow 3.7% in 2017

January 2017

The union projects a 3.7% growth in activity in the agricultural sector, after having achieved an estimated 3.2% increase in 2016.

From a statement issued by the Chamber of Agriculture:

As it does at the beginning of every year, the Chamber of Agriculture this morning presented its partners the results of an economic study on agricultural which includes estimates for economic growth in the agro sector in 2016 and growth expectations for 2017 located at 3.7%. 

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