Guarantee price;  the forbidden concept |  Article

By Alberto Vizcarra Ozuna

Lhe country’s corn and wheat producers are beginning to show more than restlessness and some warn of mobilizations, because the prices of both basic grains register drastic falls. The impact is greater as the inputs required for the crops that are about to be harvested showed exponential increases. In a simple consideration, the drop in prices compared to last year, in the case of wheat, would be close to 30 percent, while an increase in the cost of inputs of more than 300 percent was recorded. A devastating blow to the wheat and corn producing regions of the country.

This is the elephant that has perched on the table of the annual assemblies of agricultural organizations and producers from all over the country, who feel the overwhelming gale of international markets, while the federal government does not show clear signs of budgetary protection for the national production of basic grains. The supports are reduced to self-consumption regions. The irrigated areas, where the highest production and productivity are recorded, are abandoned to the fate dictated by international markets. An arbitrary discretion and contrary to the national interest.

This Saturday, March 11, the federal and state authorities were present at the gathering to close the annual report of the users of the Río Yaqui Irrigation District, in southern Sonora. A possible meeting was agreed, not with the Secretary of Agriculture, but with the Secretary of the Interior to see “how they could help” to alleviate the circumstance. However, the secretary of agriculture of the state of Sonora, Fátima Rodríguez, was in charge of announcing that the situation is very serious, because the world storages of wheat and corn are saturated, in addition to adding that it is cheaper to produce these cereals outside the country. , implying that the national market would not be protected. She anticipated that the government will not take responsibility. A kind of message: against the laws of the market we cannot.

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The idea that supply and demand determine prices is an old ruse, an old sophistry of (neoliberal) free trade, to cover up the consortiums and private corporations that control the futures markets and that project speculative profits with the falls and the increases in the prices of goods in which they leverage financial businesses completely unrelated to production. It is against these powers that the Mexican state is obliged to protect national food production and producers.

The reality is that there were no significant increases in world wheat production. The FAO maintains that the lack of food increases the threat of global famine, by having 345 million people in food crisis. The world production of wheat this year, compared to the previous year, had increases that were very meager, with 0.25 percent.

As the economist José Luís Calva, director of the UNAM’s economic research department and expert in agricultural affairs, maintains: the jewel in the crown of any process to protect the national production of basic grains are the guaranteed prices. And these, in order to really have the desired effects, must be universal. They must include all the producers of basic grains, not only the self-consumption regions. This implies a rethinking of the country’s food policy, so that all the productive potentialities of the bulk-producing areas of Mexico are oriented towards the national market and the repositioning of food self-sufficiency.

If on any front the anti-neoliberal rhetoric of the López Obrador government has acquired a hollow tone, it is in the policy towards the countryside. They refused to recover for the national market, the agricultural regions that the imposition of free trade agreements, keep captive and the sway of their speculative dynamics. The government made self-consumption a synonym of self-sufficiency, it maintained itself without physical production goals to reduce food dependency and with a speech insulting the producers located in the so-called “commercial agriculture”, whom the president judges by the hats they wear. they wear, the belts they carry and the vehicles they drive and not for the tons of wheat and corn they produce.

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It attacks national producers, as if they had chosen to locate themselves in commercial agriculture, when it was the neoliberal governments that surrendered to the global dictates of the markets and imposed this condition on the producers. Tricks that are otherwise dangerous, in times of a global food crisis.

The expressions of complaint from the producers are beginning to transcend the “petitionist” condition of obtaining some conjunctural support and are beginning to occupy spaces in the programmatic field by claiming, as the producers of Sinaloa do, “that public policies should be for all Mexicans, as it was in the days when there was a guaranteed price to ponder that the crops are a matter of food security”.

The time has come to break with the unfortunate economic inertia of the last four decades. The world is giving unmistakable signs that these policies are unbearable. Financial and commercial instability, bank thunder and permanent wars. It is necessary to celebrate that Mexican producers have decided to put on the table the concept of “guarantee prices”, a term that frightens and conjures up the pernicious ghosts of neoliberalism.

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