20 May 1999
Brazilians back squatter co-op

BRAZILS Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) has occupied thousands of acres of unused land and won massive support, reports The Guardian.

In 1985, almost 10,000ha (24,709 acres) of unproductive land was invaded by 1000 poor families.

On assuming control, the squatters set about turning the area into an agricultural co-operative.

The co-operative, Conoal, which now has an annual turnover of £8m, sells its food products to multinational Parmalat, and has transformed the lives of thousands of dispossessed people.

MST says that so far 300,000 to 400,000 families have followed the steps of the early pioneers in the squatting movement.