Access to land is fundamental to food sovereignty. The 2012 Food Sovereignty Prize honors the Unified Peasant Movement of Aguan Region (MUCA) of Honduras for its unwavering struggle for the right to land. Comprised of 2,500 landless peasants, MUCA was founded in 2001 to pressure the Honduran government to follow through on its commitment to agrarian reform. MUCA has relied on various non-violent strategies, such as land occupations, negotiations with government agencies, judicial appeals and policy proposals. In 2008, a new law proposed by MUCA and other peasant movements would have titled 40,000 hectares for the benefit of 20,000 peasant families. The reforms were reversed, however, by a military coup d’état in June 2009.
Since the coup, violence and human rights violations have increased in Honduras—and land reform policy has come to a halt. Instead, land is being converted into large-scale oil palm plantations for biofuel production, particularly in the Bajo Aguan region, where MUCA is based. The post-coup government has targeted the Aguan community, particularly leaders of MUCA, and more than sixty peasants have been assassinated. Despite the violence, MUCA continues its nonviolent struggle against land grabbing—while also operating several model food sovereignty projects raising vegetables, chickens and fish, and providing education and health care at makeshift schools and clinics.