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President Hugo Chávez assured last Sunday that the national government will attain its goal of recovering the milk producing and the beef producing cattle herds, “we will achieve it, the reproduction of the national herd as part of the agricultural project of transformation of the economy”

Chávez informed about the girolando cattle, a very `productive and enduring crossbreed imported from Brazil , “... with an average milk yield of 15 liters per day, and an above average fattening capacity; we’re granting this cattle as a loan for medium and small farmers”, he said , and asked Francisco Natera(Minister of Special Zones and Sustainable Development) and Elías Jaua (Minister of Popular Economy) to deepen the coordination between both ministries.

He commented that this cattle brought from Brazil, with part of the oil income, is intended to promote the economic and social transformation process, in order to overcome the current economic model, based largely on a single product.

“Agriculture will be within the revolution, as a fundamental factor for the cultural, social, and economic changes in Venezuela. It is much more than an economic measure, it’s a social and cultural step, an instrument of liberty to attain alimentary sovereignty, a fundamental mechanism to achieve national independence”, said the president.

He recalled that the national herd had diminished in the last recent years, and that therefore the revolutionary government had undertaken the task of importing a number of pregnant heifers, programmed to bear female, “at least in a large proportion, we’re bringing them to recover the milk producing herd as well as the beef producing herd, and we will achieve the recovery of the national cattle herd as part of the agricultural project of economic transformation”

He mentioned that it is necessary to link this goal with the popular economy project, and insisted that the small and medium producers be not only granted state loans, but also required to comply with certain conditions and to assume a commitment of cultural and mental transformation.

Besides granting the cattle on loans, with a two year grace period, five years to cancel, and at a 12% interest rate, he proposed that the producers be given support and technical assistance. He said that nevertheless, the beneficiaries must assume an obligation with their country in committing themselves, for instance, to form cooperatives, in order to benefit families that don’t even possess a square meter of land.

“A cooperative can be formed that operates within its premises, as an endogenous productive unit (oriented towards national production and self-supply ), with a school, etc.; a cooperative that raises cattle and produces and processes milk, for example. We can lend them the machines to produce cheese or butter. It’s an example that I put forth to illustrate the need for everything to be linked from now on; very closely linked in pursuit of the objectives that should be the same objectives for all of us; only then will we be able to make the leap forward”, he added.

With this purpose, the head of State said that a collective training effort is necessary. One with social and moral strength, in order to consolidate this new national situation. “Moreover, we should not only count on the results of the training , we have to encourage them to commit themselves, thorough agreements”, he said.

“Zamorano farms”

He also recommended to revise the Zamorano farms, whose workers must be committed to a project before receiving the lands, for which he proposed the elaboration of signed letters of compromise, “it’s not about constituting a political party, it’s about an integral transformation project in benefit of the collectivity(...) we have to encourage commitment because cultural transformation is slow.We have to commit these new milk producers with the daily glass of milk for school children, because it can not be the State the one that imports milk or that buys it from importers”, Chávez said that as of January 10th 2007, the leap forward should be consolidated for the development of the special economic areas. The government assigned 30 billion U$ for the purchase of the Brazilian cattle, that will be distributed in the eight special areas.

Additional resources were assigned through the Ministry of Agriculture to import 100,000 head of cattle in several years, “and thus elevate the national herd to its highest potential”

Border with Colombia

The minister of Special Zones and Sustainable Development), Francisco Natera pointed out that the border area with Colombia is of vital strategic importance for Venezuela, and that therefore this area will be attended through governmental programs.

He announced a program to consolidate and promote the fishing activity through financing of fishing equipment and the recuperation of the fishing infrastructure -docks, piers, electricity plants, refrigeration facilities, etc.- in order to facilitate the storage, transportation processing, and commercialization of the fishing production.

He said that the Zulia border area is one of the least protected in the country and that these improvements are not only intended to promote the commercialization of resources in Zulia, but also to improve the living standards (in terms of education, health, and security) of the local population by promoting new organizational economic social and cultural models.

He explained that in the Sinamaica sector of the Guajiro Indian area, the ministry of Special Zones and Sustainable Development(Zedes) is working on special projects to recover the saltworks (with the installation of a processing plant), and to improve commercialization and production with price policies and economic incentives. Zedes projects, within a short term, to develop seed production, and plantations of melon, watermelon, papaya, and aloe vera.

He added that there are programs to develop bovine and goat raising. “With these plans, the National Government expects that, within a short time, the sustainable development areas in the Guajiro region will contribute to raise the living standard of the fishermen, specifically in the Indian sector of Zulia state”, he indicated.

Published in Quantum No.34