Citation 12

Mar 17, 2015

Subect: Elgidio Mailland
Role: ex-President of CRA
Place: Buenos Aires
Date: March 17, 2015


[8:49] Mailland: “…each of the organizations kept their identity regardless of the expansion of soybeans. The big difference is that we have all the cooperatives and we have strong commercial interest. The other organizations are more representative of producers, the primary producer as we call it, even if FAA has AFA and SRA and CRA are more cattle-oriented, they were the traditional representative of the cattle producers, so we complement each other. Hence, between CRA, SRA and us, we don’t have many conflicts and that’s why the three of us are together in the Coordinating Committee [still since FAA had left].”

Authors: “One may think that the interest of producers, represented by CRA and SRA, would be with traders who are nearer to your position, however.”

Mailland: “The conflict occurs because we have learned, at a high cost, to be on both sides of the counter. That is, to defend the interest of the producer and the interest of the cooperative who is a trader. This is also a conflict internal to CONINAGRO. I have it with CRA, with the SRA, but also with my own producers for whom it’s difficult to understand the border of defending both the cooperative AND the producer not the cooperative OR the producer [capital letters added]. There is a grey area which is the hardest to walk through [11:06] For instance, on the 17th there is a protest day, I know that in those assemblies there will be the demand for a lockout to protest. In this case CRA and SRA, it’s easier for them to call for a lockout because they don’t have commercial activities. But a lockout of commercial activities has an economic damage, and our work is to find out what’s the economic damage that I’m willing to take, how much can I close a cooperative to support a lockout to protest and tolerate that it’s a commercial cost that the producer members of cooperative will accept to pay. The other organizations see these from other point of view and don’t discuss these issues.”

Authors: “Lockouts are ‘outside the gates’ except because they don’t affect production, expect for milk, which suffers in the short term, right?”

Mailland: “We are like milk producers in the cooperative with the negative consequences, I need to evaluate if I can take it for two, three days and in the fourth day I have a negative economic effect…because I have the whole line from the farm to the port, I have ships and I own ports and I have contracts to fulfil, and grain to deliver and then we enter in the terrain of non-compliance and fines and costs. If, for example, I don’t fulfill the contract of grain delivery for a week, this ship pays daily fines in the port and someone has to pay for that. This is what’s difficult for me to explain not only to the other organizations but also to my own producers that when we decide which action to adopt, such as a lockout, we are hurting ourselves.”

Author: “But do individual producers see it as they are part of the local cooperative, which stores their grain in the facilities to the cooperative with the mandate to sell the grain? Who pays if they didn’t deliver?”

Mailland: “The damage should be paid by the producer because we sell in concession. Producers pay a commission over the grain for the cooperative, but we are not sellers, only storage and seek for the best buyers for the collected grain and best price for the agrochemicals for the producers. Producers join together to gain scale and volume… it’s difficult to understand for the primary producer, not for those who are managers in cooperatives.” [17:00]