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When Peruvian Farmers Take the Initiative: The Project to Divert the Water of the River Arma

Faced with the need to renew the means to irrigate their land, Peruvian farmers took the initiative to implement a river diversion project. The government, which refused to take on this type of work, seeing that the initiative was a success, took over the development project by calling for financial and technical support, but to the detriment of the social ideal of fair distribution of irrigated land which inspired the project in the first place.

Along the river Arma, the microphone-area of Condesuyos, covers a zone of desert top-plates and mountains where the majority of the Indians live. In 1975, Ocona, a private organization of land owners, projected the derivation of the Arma to its profit to counter the effects of the dryness. The initiative of the Indians in a democratic ideal of redistribution of the richness, the negligence and the little of ambition of the State and private sector for this realization pushed poor farmers to begin the earthworks of the diversion canal, on the 4th of August 1980. Moreover the project was animated by a social ideal of fair redistribution of newly irrigated land among the small holders and the workers invested. Two months later, the farmers' determination obliged the State to intervene: work was stopped to carry out a study of prefaisability. Gathered soon within the association Arma, the leaders of the popular project were to fight against the State attempt to recover this dynamics. Indeed, the State partners, wishing to make profitable their technical and financial assistance, essential to a fast progress of works, projected the sale of the land newly irrigated to the highest offerer. The tribulations around the Arma project are far from being completed. Here is an example of the keen fight which can deliver men around the " liquid gold ". Financially and technically essential, the state aid can nevertheless put in danger a democratic experiment undertaken with enthusiasm by a country population aspiring to its own economic and social progress.


Jean-Christophe CARRAU
Cap Juby - Partenaire de la coopĂ©ration et du (...)
+ de 2 article(s)


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