Colombian Minister for Agriculture Juan Camilo Restrepo Salazar said Friday that the ministry is working on returning land seized by illegal groups to its displaced owners.
“These lands need to be reclaimed and returned to the people they belong to,” Restrepo said. This involves removing front men installed on stolen property, the minister explained.
Restrepo said that the tools to recuperate stolen land need to be “re-engineered,” but added that there are many ways to retake land currently in the hands of criminals.
According to Restrepo, 500,000 hectares of land have been confiscated but remain in the hands of authorities. The minister said that complete land titles are missing for half of that property, and therefore a decision needs to be made to reallocate the land to displaced Colombians.
The minister also said that the scandal-ridden agricultural subsidies scheme known as AIS will be reformed but will not be terminated. The scandal involved the allocation of subsidies to wealthy landowners, rather than to the small-scale farmers it was intended for.