Brazil's Bolsonaro moves on land titles for small farmers

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends a ceremony of the provisional land regularization measure at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil December 10, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree on Tuesday that will allow tens of thousands of small farmer to finally gain title to the land they cultivate, making good on a campaign promise to the farm sector that backed his election.

The land regularization measure, which goes into effect immediately but needs to be approved by Congress within 120 days, only applies to land that has been occupied by farmers before May 2014 and up to 2,500 hectares (6,178 acres) in size.

Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina said the decree will allow small farmers to obtain credit that they were denied for lack of a title, and will generate more agricultural prosperity.

The decree simplifies the paperwork that has been a hurdle for an estimated one million small land-holding families to obtain titles, an issue several previous governments have not been able to resolve.

The farmers will have to sign on to the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) that is designed to monitor the use of land in Brazil and guard against deforestation.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Anthony Boadle; Editing by Bill Berkrot