New Internationalist

Cargill exposed

June 2009

The Venezuelan Government recently initiated expropriation procedures in relation to a plant owned by Cargill, reports Upside Down World. The transnational food company, which recorded nearly $4 billion in net earnings last year, was found to be modifying all its rice so as to evade price controls on basic food items.

Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Land, Richard Canán, reported the results of a week-long investigation which was carried out by Venezuela’s Institute in Defence of People’s Access to Goods and Services (INDEPABIS) at the request of rice producers in the region around the processing plant in Portugesa state. ‘[Cargill] is not even producing one single kilogram of regulated rice, but they do produce 2,400 tons of pre-cooked rice, which is not subject to regulation,’ he explained. INDEPABIS also found approximately 18,000 tons of non-modified rice stored in the plant’s warehouse.

Agriculture and Lands Minister Elías Jaua said the first step in the expropriation would be the temporary occupation of the plant in order to restart the production of rice at the controlled price.

The Chávez Government’s investments in agricultural production over the past 10 years have increased rice production by 94 per cent, but this still falls short of demand. Venezuelans experienced widespread shortages of rice last year when the world food crisis set in and prices soared. Pledging to take stronger measures to guarantee food access to all citizens, Chávez passed the Law on Food Security and Sovereignty, which defines food security as a matter of ‘public utility’.

After ordering the Cargill expropriation, Chávez told his ministers to begin inspections of producers of flour, oil and toilet paper, saying that the state ‘will take decisive measures in favour of the people against those who do not abide by the law’.

This column was published in the June 2009 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Comments on Cargill exposed

Leave your comment


  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Get our free fortnightly eNews


Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Currents

All Currents

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 423

New Internationalist Magazine issue 423
Issue 423

More articles from this issue

  • Gurrumul

    June 1, 2009

    Listeners familiar with the harder sounds of Yothu Yindi are in for a surprise. The 12 songs on Gurrumul display an altogether softer side of their author.

  • Wheel back the factories

    June 1, 2009

    Chinese investors may bring manufacturing back to the West, discovers Libby Tucker.

  • South African SPECIAL

    June 1, 2009

    A selection of post-election South African reading.

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.