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The Agribusiness Model

The Agribusiness Model


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By Jorge Eduardo Rulli

Agribusiness is the one that sets the price for the producer, but when that price goes down at the gate it does not mean that it will go down at the gondola for the city consumer. Believing this innocent is the deception in which many fall ... some in good faith and others with very, very bad intentions ...

I am worried about being able to find explanations for the tensions and conflicts that arise in the countryside, and it worries me, because we live in a time when the hegemonic models that configure the new dependencies are installed in rural areas within the framework of the agro-export models, and because from there they are projected onto the rest of the country, unfailingly conditioning the entire life of the city… The urban population uprooted from their memories and with an imaginary increasingly occupied by advertising and TV. It is difficult for him to accept this importance of the rural that continues to assimilate with the backward, in an era of Global Capitalism, high technologies and instantaneous universal relationships. However, this preeminence of the rural area corresponds to the new transnational powers that are based on the appropriation of seeds and international grain markets, on the growing power of the agri-food chains and supermarkets, which have expropriated the function to feed hundreds if not billions of human beings. Many continue to refuse from a supposed left to recognize the political value of food, however, since the speeches and questions of many leaders aim to unravel the conflict that is inevitably coming: producing food or producing fuel, given that the source of Both will be unfailingly, at least if we continue on this path, the same agriculture, and everyone fears that there will be no possibilities to supply the two markets simultaneously, and between the need to eat of the poor and the need to supply the hunger of the cars of the rich, it is foreseeable to imagine who will be left on the road ...


We have said that both the rural model and the production of industrialized food and its commercialization are in the hands of what are called Agribusiness, and this is expressed through the agri-food chains that begin in an agriculture model without farmers, not It matters who owns the land, and that they reach our table in the form of packaged products laden with advertising, pesticide residues and preservatives. This has been a slow but implacable process of conquest of the sector, a process of massive appropriation of the markets, of co-option and especially of acculturation of the producer, because persuading the country man that his was an agro business, and transforming him from farmer to farmer. small rural entrepreneur, was not a minor fact, but decisive, to be able to impose the agro-export model of biotechnologies and dependence on inputs that we now have.

And we are not talking about something that happened or something that has reached its maximum expression ... no, quite the opposite, the latest information tells us about 24 new shanty towns, just in the City of Buenos Aires, and according to scholars of the INTA, 8 out of 10 of the unemployed who populate them, are unemployed from agriculture ... The depopulation process continues ...

Now, if it is the agri-food chains that dominate the food production and marketing sector, then we could well admit that every time the National Government tries to solve some of the problems that occur in this area, it would be recognizing and even legitimizing that power of agribusiness. Each negotiation with the owners of the large chains does not at most, more than solve the problems today, but at the same time strengthens the hegemonic model of agribusiness and agrifood chains. The copular negotiations and the model of rewards and punishments that have been institutionalized as a political practice, among others with rural sectors, is something worse than that of plugging holes, it is ultimately clumsy, to do doctrine of the situation and forget what they would be the non-delegable tasks of the investiture in the exercise of the State. What I mean is that in the negotiation with Agribusiness, whether it is called Mastellone or whatever that agribusiness is called, the only valid argument to be used by the official could be that of: Gentlemen, moderate your greed and your voracity for profits or me they will force you to do, what I as an official should be doing ...

Let's continue with this idea a little more because it is worth developing. What I am saying is that Agribusiness has expropriated from the State the regulatory function that corresponds to the State, and of course it uses it in a quite discretionary way and for its own benefit. Agribusiness is the one that sets the price for the producer, but when that price goes down at the gate, it does not mean that it will go down at the gondola for the city consumer. Believing this innocent is the deception in which many fall ... some in good faith and others with very, very bad intentions ... The relationship is not mechanical, because agribusinesses manage the agri-food chains, as well as supermarkets, and they manage them at their discretion . They are the owners of all the links. Let's see if you understand: we are playing cards with someone who has all the cards, also ours ...

The price that falls at the gate because the Agribusiness decides it, forces the small producer to reduce costs or disappear, and this means incorporating the large-scale technological package that is also part of the Agribusiness, or it may mean incorporating labor family that works for food or incorporates slave or semi-slave labor from neighboring countries. In fact, this situation exists with dairy products and La Serenísima, from the Onganía dictatorship to the present, without the scheme having been modified in so many years of Democracy. There is also a similar situation with export withholdings, in which the small one is not discriminated if the soybeans go as beans that pay on the 21st or as oil that pay on the 5th ... the price is always set by the Agribusiness and the balance is always generalize to one side only. And the same thing has happened lately with meat, where the decrease in the price of the live animal was left by the refrigerators and intermediaries, and it did not reach the consumer but in minimal expression and just to cover up appearances and do what … That is, to show that the policy used was the correct one, while in truth, agribusiness multiplied their profits…

So, and I repeat: all top negotiation implies the immorality of manifesting to the agribusiness chain that manages prices, something like: Gentlemen, moderate your exactions or I will be forced to take the political measures to which my function obliges me and that I do not drink because I prefer to continue with the circus and preserve the imposed model and negotiate with you who are like the fox in the henhouse ...


The announced livestock plan does nothing more than reaffirm this model imposed in the 1990s. And I am also referring to the fact that the State does not currently have any instrument to set policies to change this model and not even to influence what happens in the markets. Let's see but: ONCA does not define policies but is just a commercial inspector. SENASA is instead a sanitary inspector and of course it does not define policies either. And then what?… The National Grain Board and the National Meat Board, which were abolished in the Menem era, did instead define policies, because they regulated the livestock stock, because they set support prices when they were necessary, but also because they could satisfy that need for participation of producers in policies, which is absolutely legitimate and that in recent livestock conflicts has come to light as a claim among others that, it would be good to attend to the detriment of the leadership that the corporations have over them ...

The suppression of meat exports has only favored agribusiness and the extension of the agriculture of transgenic soybeans. In other words, a bad policy on the livestock sector and beyond its manifest intentions, which have been to lower the price of meat to the consumer, has ended up favoring the slaughterhouses, that is, agribusiness, which remained with the lion's share in the price differences in intermediation and, unfortunately, it has also favored the development of larger areas of soybeans, because many farmers who, discouraged in their production, have switched to industrial soybean agriculture .

And this situation that we describe occurs at a very special moment, when important groups of municipalities in the Province of Buenos Aires meet for the first time, to study some way to stop the growing soybean growth that the planting pools threaten them, stop the closure of the dairy farms and also the emigration to the cities of the populations of their municipalities. This sojisation also occurs, when the resistance of neighbors towards soybean and the spraying that accompanies soy grows throughout the country, and when doctors verify a health catastrophe originating in industrial agriculture on a daily basis; that cancer, malformations, spontaneous abortions and the decline in intellectual capacity in children, spread like an ink stain in all the urban peripheries of Argentina, and that this is the obvious consequence of the poisons that accompany the soybean pattern ...

But there is more to demonstrate the absurdity of certain policies than by mistake or omission, end up encouraging the Sojization model. In fact, agribusinesses have become independent from State policies, impose their own models and regional interests at the MERCOSUR level and are unconcerned with the political-electoral alternatives that reveal to officials and party men. They, the agribusinesses, are beyond these alternatives and conjunctural events, they are the ones that generate public policies and those that plan the future of our countries. Nothing that the Government can do with its anecdotal of rewards and punishments and with its erratic measures, can overshadow what for the redesign of the next Argentina that biotechnologies and biofuels require, projects such as the Hidrovía Paraná Paraguay and now also the Belgrano Cargas railway, better known as the soy train, with its seven thousand kilometers long, in the hands of Franco Macri and the head of the CGT, truck driver Hugo Moyano.

Unfortunately, not only is the Government hostage to the soybean model of Agribusiness and it also fails to design a policy that is capable, at least, of putting it back in a position to manage the political times and economic development. Small producers are also hostages of the model and we have seen them in these days making common cause with the refrigerators that bagged the large slices of the cake, as much as they have done in recent years common cause with the cereal companies, in the absurd claim against the withholdings that they should never have paid precisely because they are withholdings on the export and not on the producer, and yet it is the exporters who pass on the tribute and are to such an extent prisoners of the model that, instead of rebelling against the blatant abuse of exporters, they make common cause with them and in their extreme confusion they rebel and protest against the State ...

We cannot be ignorant or indifferent to these situations. Today the rural model is projected in a hegemonic way over Argentina as a whole, conditioning our lives in all areas without exception. Agribusiness has imposed on us a model that inexorably leads to generating huge empty territories on the one hand and huge unmanageable conurbations on the other. A country model in which the placing of industrial agriculture at the service of biofuel production will inexorably lead to an even greater risk than the current ones: that of lacking a sufficient supply of food for Argentines. Continuing to face this fearsome future without rebuilding the State in its essential instruments to develop intervention policies, policies that can modify the soybean model, limit its developments or lessen its growing impacts, will not only be a very serious political error, but will also constitute a significant breach of government function. Doing so from a merely progressive thinking equates us, with the Uruguayan brothers and with the painful tragedy of a generation of social and revolutionary fighters, who ended up in the sister country being absolutely functional to what they always fought or at least declared to fight. If that same task were attempted in Argentina from the symbols of Peronism, we would only be adding the cruelest mockery to the combination of clumsiness and a lack of national awareness.

* Jorge Eduardo Rulli
Rural Reflection Group
www.grr.org.ar
Editorial of Sunday July 30, 2006 of the Horizonte Sur Program


Video: An Innovative Farming Model for the Next Generation. Clara Coleman. TEDxDirigo (July 2022).


Comments:

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