"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

President Fernandez de Kirchner:
Argentina Can Be a "Food Multinational" and Feed 400-500 Million people

On May 16 from Lima, Peru, at a gathering of European Union and Ibero-American heads of state, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner stated that her country has the potential to become a "Food Multinational," with the capability of feeding between 400-500 million people. The Argentine President's speech comes less than three weeks before the June 3-5 summit of the FAO, for which the LaRouche movement has been organizing with Helga Zepp-LaRouche's call to double world food production immediately. Argentine Congressman Alberto Cantero, interviewed by the LaRouche Youth Movement (LYM) on May 15, had also strongly supported Zepp-LaRouche's call, arguing that Argentina could easily produce enough food to feed 400-500 million people.

In addressing the panel on "Poverty, Inequality and Inclusion," the Argentine President recalled that 100 years ago, her country was a raw-materials exporter which achieved the status of the world's seventh largest economy. Today, she said, "we are in a privileged position," but added that Argentina isn't interested in just being a commodities producer, whose economic cycles "are very short." Rather, "this is an opportunity, for you [Europe] as well as for us, because you can't produce food on the scale that we can, but we need your technology and investment."

For example, she explained, "my country of 40 million people, can produce food for 400 or 500 million people, but we need to do it not just with raw materials, but with a strong value-added, to become...a food multinational, because geographical location, climate diversity, aptitude, and also state-of-the art technology we've developed in agriculture, has us well-situated." The European Union and Ibero-America should form "strategic alliances," she said, "which are useful to us both."

President Fernandez de Kirchner also slammed the rampant speculation in commodities, which she blamed for rising food prices. Isn't it strange, she said, that alongside the formal financial system, where everything is supposed to be controlled, "a system of [private] funds had sprung up, and no one knows where they are or how they're being used, yet they've produced one of the biggest crisis we can remember."

Fernandez de Kirchner charged that the causes of the food crisis are those that have also produced poverty and indigence: speculation taking precedence over production, and profit being valued over productive labor. Now that the financial world no longer yields the same profits, she noted, the speculators have moved into the area of food, without governments or multilateral agencies, "which should have been monitoring this," doing anything. Nor were local elites innocent here, she said. Often they were complicit in allowing these "bad financial and economic policies" to be imposed, or in "not having a correct policy to counter-attack those coming from abroad."

But the issue now is not to be a victim, President Fernandez de Kirchner said. "What's important now is for us to determine how we got into this situation...to be able to find the instruments and policies to reverse it."