by Carlos Abalo,
El Cronista Agropecuario,
April 24, 1997
The success of the Argentine reintroduction in the world depends in first place on the international demand of food. At first sight, it would seem to be the same structure of the first insertion, in the last decades of the last century, that Argentina woldn't be able to mantain for a long period of time. However, the circumstances are different and the contribution of raw materials is more diversified than in the past because it includes a wide range of food (oil, oleaginous, cereals, meat, fruit and horticulture) as well as gas, petroleum, minerals and, even in smaller quantities, wood and cellulose.
The base of these products is primary, but the productivity per hectare is not anymore the same as a century ago and not even the same as twenty years ago. A technological revolution took place in the "pampeana" prairie and it began with seeds and continued with machinery, fertilizers and with irrigation of water; the latter will help extend the crops and diversify the production to an even higher extent. The revitalized production of machinery, tractors and spare parts for crops of high performance with an increasing international demand will become internationally profitable and specialized. The fertilizers that the agriculture wold demand, in association with, created a petrochemical area and manufacturing plants for treatment of gases.
Most of the food already have added value and, as they become more complex, the facilities to produce them require state-of-the-art technology and, in many products, packaging with high quality rules. The farm production is becoming less primary: it constitutes the nucleus of a diversified facility that includes equipments, spare parts, manufacturing plants of fertilizers, special constructions, roads, channels, irrigation of water. The traffic to ship the production requires a big fleet of trucks , wagons, locomotives and port facilities.
In the global capitalism, the industry cannot develop itself anymore on the basis of a plan out of the international market. The Argentine revitalization of manufacturing plants could only support itself in the traditional fields, because seems to be more and more related with other fields and it is only posible with an axis in the international market, even though their specific products constitute a supply of the production to be exported. If the latter is dynamic and competitive and it wins markets, the supplies can find at the some time their own place in the exchange, creating a new axis of international insertion. They are supposed to do so because even though the farming is now working as an industrial area, the international bussines is focused on countries with diversified production, with high added value and with high technology. Argentina will continue being a big food producer in a period in which the rapid expansion of the overpopulated Asia will revalue the natural resources, but its own development would require advances in the most complex fields which will surely be more and more involved with food production. The only possible industrial strategy is the diversification starting from specialization.