"Nichts mehr davon, ich bitt euch. Zu essen gebt ihm, zu wohnen.
Habt ihr die Blöße bedeckt, gibt sich die Würde von selbst."
Friedrich Schiller
  May 2008 FOOD

Argentine Government Proposes Stricter Oversight of Entire Food-Production Chain--British Empire Faction Goes Nuts

On the eve of the celebration of Argentina's independence from Spain, declared on May 25, 1810, the government of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is organizing to achieve another form of independence--from the British Empire's grip on the marketing of agricultural products. The daily {Pagina 12} reported today that the government is aggressively promoting a bill to expand the powers of the state's National Agricultural Trade Control Office (Oncca) "to ensure greater intervention into the food chain" to guarantee food security.

The new agency, known by the slightly different acronym Onccaa, would be empowered to buy and sell agro products--mostly grains--keep domestic food prices low, and combat monopolistic and oligopolistic action. It would purchase food crops from farmers, paying them a fair price, and export them abroad, as well. In other words, oversee all aspects of the agricultural production chain.

Significantly, the government has designated Cong. Alberto Cantero, whose recent interview with Argentine LYM leader Emiliano Andino was published in {EIR} magazine, as the point man to ensure that this new agency goes into operation as quickly as possible. Cantero is Chairman of the Agricultural and Livestock Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, and will be hammering out the details of the bill on May 26-27.

For British financier interests, the idea of a state- controlled regulatory agency, with the power to monitor all aspects of agricultural marketing, raises the specter of the National Grain Board or the Argentine Institute for the Promotion of Trade (IAPI) created by Juan Peron in 1946, whose regulatory powers greately hampered grain cartels' operations in the country.

Predictably, the City of London mouthpiece {Urgente24} threw a rug-chewing fit today, ranting that the government wants to "recreate the failed National Grain Board and National Beef Board... all bureaucratic, corrupt and inefficient structures."

In fact, the government's bill sounds quite efficient: it proposes to offer progressive improvements to favor food producers, distributors, and businessmen, as well as low-income consumers, seeking to increase the supply and availability of corn, wheat, beef, and milk, which would help especially small and medium-sized producers. With its own budget, and operating under the jurisdiction of the Finance Ministry, Onccaa would ensure that farmers were paid fair prices, and take control of purchasing grains, should this become necessary. For example, it could purchase the 6 million tons consumed in the internal market, and then sell this amount to mills, avoiding any middle man, and guaranteeing a reasonable price for flour. Very important too is Onccaa's plan to maintain a database on agro production, warehousing, processing, marketing, and distribution. Such a map would allow the government to know in advance of any potential conflicts between supplying food at reasonable prices and meeting international commitments. It will be able to know who produces what, and where food is warehoused. This is crucial to guarantee food security, in the context of the current global food crisis.