Arnoldo Márquez, minister of Lands and Agriculture presented before the National Assembly Permanent Commission of Economic Development, the agricultural expansion program for the 2005-2007 period, with the purpose of expanding, during this term, the amount of cultivated land to 5 million hectares, a goal to be attained through seven public plans designed by his ministry.

Márquez declared that “we share a common cause with the National Assembly and this commission, in order to make it possible for Venezuela -once and for all- not to depend on ports as means to guarantee its national supply”.

“These seven strategies will reinforce the proposed agricultural plans that have always been in the minds of the members of this assembly ”, he affirmed.

The minister pointed out the need to reduce purchases abroad, through the creation of wider markets for the goods produced in our country. He explained that the cultivation plan, projected for next year, includes an increase in the production of melon, cacao, and oil palm.

In the face of the proposal to increase, by one million hectares a year, the current amount of land for cultivation (3 million hectares), Márquez asked the deputies of the Assembly to promote -through the creation and modification of legal texts- favorable conditions for agricultural growth.

“There are laws in the Parliament that that have to be discussed, in the light of a new reality. Such is the case of the Law of Lands, since this plan for agricultural growth affects lands, a factor of production that needs to be re-dimensioned and redistributed in accordance to regulations. This issue was left on the table for discussion, as well as the revision of the Law of Agricultural Financing for 2005”, he indicated.

For his part, the president of the National Assembly Permanent Commission of Economic Development, Freddy Lepage set forth the purpose of adjusting the reform of the Law of Lands -previously presented before the legislative power- to minister Márquez’ proposal. “We want to generate an atmosphere of tranquility for the entire agricultural family of Venezuela, by giving them the opportunity to participate in the discussion of the reform of the Law of Lands”, he added.

Likewise, the vice-president of the legislative commission, Virgilio Chávez commented that “I think that with the plan presented, and projected until 2007, we will grow from being an importing nation to being an exporting nation”.

Following the same line of opinion, the deputy for Guárico state, Pedro Solano deemed the agricultural growth project ambitious and feasible. “The minister proposes an annual increase in (cultivated) hectares, as well as the methods by which this goal will be attained. Furthermore, the private sectors are looking forward to the approval of these plans in order to start applying them” he pointed out.

Published in Quantum No.35