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Venezuela: Manuel Rosales announces agricultural plan

By Aleksander Boyd

Acarigua 20.10.06 - Teodoro Petkoff has just finished introducing presidential candidate Manuel Rosales, who is meeting with producers from around Venezuela and is about to announce his agricultural plan from this city. Previous speakers criticised the current administration´s policy of favouring foreign producers at the detriment of the locals. One of them said that 600 million tonnes of corn are about to be harvested however uncertainty as to whether producers will succeed in placing their product in the market continues. The policy of heavily subsidised imports from other countries has got Venezuelan farmers up in arms. "This is a criminal act against us, against our economy, our effort and livelihood. A respected government should always put their own people first, which is not the case with the so called revolution” stated one farmer.

Rosales started by saying that he feels deeply towards the agricultural sector given his background. Born to a very poor family in farm lands located south of Maracaibo lake, Rosales speaks confidently about this economic activity, in which he has personally been involved. “This administration does not know that farmers have to keep rotating crops in order to maximize land productivity. Its inconsiderate attempt to force everyone into cooperatives with predetermined production and crop goals just does not work. The best experts in this field are campesinos and farmers, who through hard work acquire a wealth of knowledge that this government pretends to ignore. They know by doing and in my government I will give priority to them. We will change the land law and give property titles to campesinos” said Rosales, who added “this goes beyond mere transfer of land ownership, further we will provide subsidies, technical assistance and equipment, so that our farmers get a chance at meeting Venezuela´s agricultural needs. This business of favouring foreign farmers instead of local ones is to end.”

Rosales also criticized the Chavez regime´s absurd import policy. “How come this allegedly socialist revolution seeks to destroy local producers by heavily subsidizing rice, sugar, meat, milk, coffee and corn imports? How come tonnes of local produce get wasted in warehouses? In me you (campesinos and farmers) will have an ally, not an enemy."

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