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Agricultural Property in Mexico

By: Terry Ahtziry Cardenas Banda, corporate attorney, internationalist, law professor, social activist, and philanthropist.

In Mexico, according to INEGI data, the agricultural and communal property represents 51% of the national territory. The relevance of the communal “ejidal” system in Mexico lies in the protection provided by the Mexican Constitution, as well as the Agrarian Law, providing communal “ejidal” population or ejidos with legal personality and their own assets, giving them the right to be owners of the lands that they own, or had been endowed or those that they would have acquired by any other title.

For its part, agrarian contract law is a subbranch of agrarian law. Agrarian law is of utmost relevance in Mexico due to its historical event and the need in Mexico to provide rights to rural workers when there was an oppressive feudal system in Mexico.

Currently, the Mexican constitution provides the nation with eminent domain over the national territory but gives individuals the full right of private property. In the field of agrarian law, the ownership of land is not of an individual as such, as urban property could be; property in the rural system is social property; those who have ownership and ownership of agricultural land are the agrarian nuclei. Basically, the bare ownership corresponds to the core and the agrarian individuals enjoy the usufruct of the agricultural land. The ejidos fulfill an eminent social function based on social justice and through agrarian property.

In addition to the above, any controversy or matter in agrarian matters must be heard in agrarian courts, and there is also a National Agrarian Registry (“RAN”) that keeps control of agrarian properties.

It is relevant to specify that agricultural contracts can be identified according to the activity, the geographical location, the object, or the agricultural subject; these are the factors that will determine the rules applicable to the agricultural contract. If any of the above elements are identified in the contract or provide for any issue of agrarian legislation, the application of agrarian regulations will prevail, and it will be recognized as an agrarian contract.

Likewise, it is important to emphasize the elements that must be identified in agrarian contracts: 1) personality: prove the character of an agrarian subject, 2) consent: it must be given collectively through the minutes of the ejido assembly and individually expressly by the individual in the contract itself, 3) object: lands about which the contract deals, which may be for human settlement, common use or parcels, and 4) form: generally, it must be in writing before witnesses. In the same way, it is relevant to mention that agricultural contracts are not required to be registered in the RAN, however, it is recommended for greater protection and legal certainty.

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