Citation 7

Apr 14, 2015

Subect 1: Jorge Solmi
Role: Vice-President of FAA

Subect 2: Pedro Peretti
Role: Executive Director of FAA

Subect 3: Carlos González
Role: local representative and FAA diary commissioner

Subect 4: Gabriel Delgado
Role: former Secretary of Agriculture

Place: Buenos Aires
Date: April 14, 2015 and December 12, 2015


See Citation 1 and 5.


Gabriel Delgado

[24:48] Delgado: “Inside FAA there is a lot of heterogeneity because the historical gaucho of the Pampas, of Casilda, the typical member, now has a lot of 100 hectares of soybeans that’s worth two million dollars and he’s in the same organization as the producer of goats in the north of Cordoba. [25:25] … [25:39] CRA is the most homogenous in terms of representation and inside CRA, CARBAP of Buenos Aires and La Pampa. CONINAGRO has the same the problems of the state because it has the producers, the input provision, the export trading, the regional economies, seed production. CONINAGRO is so heterogeneous that it’s difficult to unify the diverse demands to support producers’ demands… [26:46] … [27:26] FAA is heterogeneous. In the last negotiation between FAA and the Ministry of the Economy, they achieved a program to get devolution of export taxes to small producers in the Pampas. We traveled to the hinterland provinces after that agreement and the dissatisfaction of the other producers was huge. [28:30] … [29:10] CRA did not agree with the negotiation of trade export revolution for small producers.” [29:30]

Pedro Peretti

[30:31] Peretti: “[Buzzi] never explained what happened with the 50,000 tons of export permits given by [the Ministry of Agriculture] Julian Dominguez for trading to the FAA [30:48] … [32:33] the financing of bills of landing were inherited from a second degree cooperative. That’s the secret of Buzzi because these landing bills generated millions of pesos and then there were the forms 1166 A, B and C, which are certificates for grain transfer, which were also administered by the FAA and the Grain Stock Association. The government of Cristina takes out the bills of landing but not the forms and FAA continued receiving those funds until the last day in Buzzi’s presidency [33:37] …

Carlos González

[11:45] González: “The FAA is the organization that mobilizes the most and that’s most active in the roadblocks. The small and medium farmers, sharecroppers and service providers are the crucial core. The FAA has presidents of long duration, from the onset until Buzzi who was there for sixteen years. All leaders that are in power for so long generate personalized structures they can control because nobody can grow under their shadow. They generate structures they can dominate. He changed. He was close to the government in the first administration of Kirchner [13:00] … [13:23] even though he was close to Kirchner, in 2008, the pressure from the bases forces him to join the other rural organizations in the Coordinating Committee [13:33] … [17:00] I am in the opposition faction of the FAA [to the incumbent Kirchnerista faction]. The FAA lost its funding because it lost the monopoly over bills of landing and other sources of support from the government and when it opposed the government, it was punished by eliminating these. The government granted both subsidies and functions that provided resources, such as the bills of landing, and thus it’s financially strangled. [18:00] … [18:22] Argentine producers don’t like to pay dues of the FAA, or local rural society, even if it’s a small due and if they make a lot of money. It’s a problem of representation [18:52] … [19:01] The FAA had made agreements with the government, Príncipe, and his wife who comes from the technocracy and had worked with D’Elia in Lands and Housing [a secretary administering land grants and project housings] and ideologically is akin to the Communist Party. Príncipe felt in love with her and abandoned his wife and then he and other people have the leadership of FAA and re-directs the FAA and the subsidies they receive towards family agriculture. The government never really controlled family agriculture but in Argentina is different from the rest of Latin America in regards to family agriculture. Because in Argentina, the family agriculture includes small and medium producers of 50, 100, 200 hectares and not only producers of food, such as vegetables or fruit and some wine, but instead is dependent on agriculture and cattle and based on immigration. In other Latin American countries, they don’t have it. They work for food sovereignty [20:11] … [21:11] in our definition it’s the man who works the land with his family [21:28] … [21:45] we have three family agricultures: the subsistence for self-consumption, the intermediate who also has another source of income, and the entrepreneurial one with even a few employees along with family help. This last one is the one that was destroyed in the 1990s by Menem and thousands more in the Kirchnerism due to the concentration of land production. [24:49] … [24:08] the subject of FAA changed because the current leadership uses the regional economies that are in crisis due to the appreciation of the currency that strangles them, but hopes that the populist government gives them subsidies. This is a business to get votes, through the National Registry of Family Agriculture for which the government had assigned a good chunk of funding for them, the government pay by member and that’s a way of getting funding for FAA with public money paid for agriculture producer/peasant. It’s a roll of small farmers for the government.” [26:03]

Jorge Solmi

[30:40] Authors: “To what extent this subject [peasant, very small owners in the north] had been more attracted to the policies of the government regarding ‘family agriculture’?”

Solmi: “If you look at the structure of the Ministry of Agriculture [today] you would discover that there is a lot of political theft and there are two important sources of clientelism: Rural Development and Family Agriculture. You can look at it in the structure on the web between Campos Bilbao and Pérsicco, to give name and last name, and it’s a fight for power but there is not systematic policy, as in Brazil, to deal with this issue. In Brazil, Lula established two ministries, one of rural development and the other of agriculture. And the rural development one really developed policies. Once I went to Brazil in 1992 to work and you couldn’t eat their meat or drink their milk, but now they are exporting and the quality is great [32:00] … [32:38] they developed with state contracts. The schools buy the food from the family agriculture sector and in Argentina the school uses large providers, such as La Serenisima for milk [31:41] …

[36:00] Authors: “Is there any tension between the Pampas region and the hinterland in the way the FAA works?”

Solmi: “No, in the pragmatic question of union demands, no. But it’s true, as you pointed, that certain leaders of the regional economies pay attention to the carrot or the lights in Pérsicco’s or Campo Bilbao’s neon sign. These people also have less collective action experience, without aim of offending them, and thus they think that the government via these teller counter is going to solve his problems. But it’s not going to happen because the problems of the sector are complex [37:05] … [49:57] differences [with CRA] are not major in the Pampas region, but in the regional economies, yes. In NEA, NOA, in the South or in Cuyo, there is no common work with them [local rural societies]. These are different realities. Our Patagonian producers are into fruit rather than extensive cattle, but in the Pampas is more or less the same, there is not so much distance [50:56] …

[52:53] Authors: “At the local level, when there are conflicts or protest, do you work together with other organizations?”

Solmi: “Sometimes we do and sometimes, we don’t. Before 2008, there was very limited relationship between the organizations. After 2008, the idea of working together emerged [53:26] … [55:00] but if you are talking about a rural society in Salta and the peasants [our members] in Salta, the demands are very different and it’s very different to work together. It demands on the demands, there are places where our demands are similar and others where there are different [55:17] … [57:01] the agricultural organizations are like soccer clubs in Argentina, there are more sympathizers than members. When you go to the stadium of 80,000 watching the game, there are not all members. In our leadership, there is the same idea, the idea is to seduce the sympathizer.”

Authors: “Because you need them for any collective action.”

Solmi: “Yes.”

Authors: “What about the policies that help fund the organization?”

Solmi: “In Argentina, the agricultural producer organizations have voluntaries dues. Hence, we look for funds beyond the dues that are hard to get. We have other forms of funding. We also try another form with an escrow, which was also voluntary and had no success. We had some luck but not what we expected. Both the Center of Grain Stocking and us had the monopoly of landing bills but with the 2008 conflict, it was eliminated. And they also eliminated other certificates for grain trading, such as deposit certificates that we issued, the form 1116, which were replaced by electronic forms.

Authors: “What was the effect? Did it affect your financing?”

Solmi: “Yes, that’s the reason why we had to close the Department of Family Agriculture and that people, that whole team moved to the Ministry. [59:35]