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Ag biz and funny biz: or putting the cartel before the horse

28 October 2009

I’m not the first person to suggest that fighting the narcotics cartels is a waste of Mexican resources, and legalizing the production end of the business might be the way to go, letting the governments in the user countries figure out their own way of dealing with the problem.

With a right-wing federal government right now, the “libertarian” — or perhaps “Reagan-Thatcher” theory that the job of government officials is to find reasons NOT to do their job… like, for the undersecretary of Agriculture for Agribusiness, rationalizing the failure to find new markets for Mexican crops. And, of course, these kinds of folks are allergic to government subsidies, and want to tout “free market success stories”.

Or, so it seems, that’s what the Undersecretary of Agriculture for Agribusiness (as I chose to translate “subsecretario de Fomento a los Agronegocios”) with the unusual Anglo name is doing.

From El Universal (28-Oct-09), my translation:

The Undersecretary for Agribusiness Development of  the Mexican Deprtment of Agriculture (SAGARPA, from its Spanish acronym) Jeffrey Max Jones Jones, recommends rural  Mexican learn from the drug trade about marketing.

Speaking at a forum on the economic crisis and food policy, the SAGARPA official said that narcotics producers have been able to dominate the market without relying on a government subsidy.

“Drug trafficking is one industry that learned it needed to identify its market, and build the supply logistics to meet demand.  Unfortunately they are devoted to a crop that is injurious to health, but the same logic, — that logic is that we must learn – applies:  identify the market, and then orient the apparatus of production to providing those markets,” he said.

In the first forum on the economic crises and food production, the undersecretary also  noted that drug traffickers have had to swim against the current, having to both fight the government and dominate the market without receiving subsidies.

“We have made this — unsubsidized (market dominance) our theme. You know how when you learn to use (…), market logic everything else falls into place by inertia alone and that’s what we have to learn in the Mexican countryside, “he said.

Jeffrey Max Jones reiterated that the drug traffickers have managed to meet Mexico’s platform to serve a market industry that they have given good dividends, while other rural producers first air their fears and only then start producing.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Mayorga, reached at a meeting in Jamaica, described Jones’ remarks as in no way reflecting the interests or policies of  the government, nor of SAGARPA.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 29 October 2009 7:16 am

    And speaking of drug wars and resources necessary in fighting crime, Mexico is clearly not a country that should be or could used as a baseline for comparison with another in the region. The rampant corruption in Mexico is widespread throughout each of the spheres of its government and society. Mexico is a beautiful and wealth country yet poor is spirit due to the weight of its inherently dishonest idiosyncrasy.

    • 29 October 2009 12:27 pm

      I don’t see where this post has anything to do with “baselining” anything… but for what it’s worth, Mexico has a much lower crime rate (even factoring in the narco crimes) than any of the Central American nations, and a much, much, much lower rate of narcotics use than the two other NAFTA countries.

      In one way, I agree with Jones, that Mexican narcotics growers COULD be treated as farmers producing a product…. Bolivia has taken this approach with their coca growers, resulting in a DROP in illicit coca exports and gangsterism (although maybe throwing out the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency — and more spending on social programs in rural areas — also contributed to Bolivia’s success).

  2. 29 October 2009 11:05 am

    Jeff Jones – I believe he originates from the colonias mormones in Chihuahua and very quietly relocated his family to the U.S. after the recent bout of narco violence got swinging.

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