Alberto B Martínez.

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of 1905 amounted to £2,376,000.


development of the building trade in the chief city of the
Republic, all show the spirit of enterprise at present animat-
ing the, individual and the people. Commerce and vigorous
industries reinforce these elements of prosperity and welfare.

" But it is in matters of land purchase that we best
perceive the material expansion and the intensity of the
forces in action. Without going back to the year 1904, we
have only to consider the transactions of the last few years
to realise that, both in the capital of the Republic and in
the national Territories and the Provinces, the period has
been a fertile one in the matter of transactions in landed
property. There has been no more active period since 1889 ;
and this time the facts have an explanation, a natural
and loo^ical sanction. Agriculture and stock-raising have so
auo^mented the sources of national wealth that in a few years
the balances iu favour of the country have reached the
figure of nearly £20,000,000, This is the effective cause of
the increased value of the land : to which we must add the
confidence which we all feel in the gradual development
of the forces which labour has released, to the benefit of
public tranquillity."

One of the most surprising examples of the increased
value of the soil, and of the interest awakened by sales of
land, is to be found in the public and official auction of
national lands which took place in the month of April 1905.

These sales were to be effected on account of those who
had bouo-ht these lands in analogous circumstances in 1897,
and who had not paid for them during the delay stipulated
by the law. The whole surplus over the price established
by the previous sale, less deductions for interest and other
expenses, went by law to the original purchaser. The
auctions were conducted in the presence of a crowd of
speculators, capitalists, and labourers, eager to invest their
money in so remunerative a speculation, since in the
Argentine all are convinced that the purchase of the soil is
the best form of saving. The result of the sale was that
in many cases double the original price was obtained ; three
times the price in some cases, and in some five times the
original price was realised.

In the Territory of Painpa Central an area of 933,680


acres was offered for sale, the previous price being £49,693 ;
the sale price was £135,297, representing an average price
of £842-6 per league, or 2s. 8*7d. per acre.

In the Territory of Chubut, 265,278 acres were put up
to auction, the original price being £5243"5, and the sale
price £25,361*6, or an average of £590'28 per league, or
Is. 9-7d. per acre.

In the Territory of Santa Cruz an area of 98,800 acres
was put up for sale, the first price being £3391 "34, and was
sold for £9477-6, or Is. lOd. per acre.

In the Territory of Chaco, in which especial interest was
felt, as the lands in question bore forests of quebracho trees
of great value (the quebracho industry being then in vogue),
higher values were obtained, representing five times the
original sale price. The lands to be sold in this Territory
represented a surface of 123,500 acres, and were first
disposed of for £4948. However, a price of £24,170 was
obtained, representing an average of £1208*24 per league, \
or 4s. 6-9d. per acre.

In the Territory of Rio Negro 74,100 acres were put up
for sale, which were previously sold for £3058. They realised
£8712, or £726 per square league, or 2s. 4-2d. per acre. The
general result of the sale was that the Government did a
splendid stroke of business ; but the transaction was still
more to the profit of the fortunate first applicants, who, for
failing to comply before a given date with the conditions .
established by law, were rewarded by receiving the price
of sale less the price at which they bought ; sums which to
many of them represented a considerable fortune.

Since that period the value of land has continually
increased, as we see from the following information, which
was given us by the " General Bureau of Lands and Colonies " :
of the Ministry of Agriculture. In 1906 and 1907, this
Bureau sold by public auction a large section of public lands,
and the prices obtained were far higher than those we have
recorded above.

In the Territory of Rio Negro, in August 1906,
497,600 acres were sold at an average price of 9s. 8d.
per acre.

In March 1907, 314,974 acres of land, situated in the


Peninsula Valdez (Chubut) found a buyer at 6s. 7^d.
per acre.

Numerous sales were effected in 1907 in the Pampa
Central. Among others, we may cite the following: 18,520
acres sold at 10s. 67d. and 4640 at 10s. per acre ; a lot of
18,750 acres at an average price of 6s. 9'7d. ; 7500 at 68. 5d. ;
151,410 acres at 4s. 4-8d.; 1235 acres at 3s. 7-6d. ; and 12,350
acres at 3s. 11 -Sd. per acre.

In October of the same year, auction sales were held in
various portions of Pampa Central, the results being as
follows : 16,425 acres at 8s. 10-24d. ; 5390 at 8s. 2-3d. ; 40,137
at 10s. 3d. ; 24,700 at 7s. 4'3d. ; 306,050 at an average price
of 3s. 8-5d. ; 24,700 at 3s. 7-8d., and 9182 at 6s. 7-8d. These
examples are given to show the variety of actual prices,
according to the situation and the yield of the land.
I In the matter of private sales, it is difficult to keep track
I of rising values on account of the number of sales which
itake place every day. We will try, however, to give a few
examples, to arrive at some approximate value of the
Argentine soil in the year 1905.

I The Province of Buenos Ayrea, which is the most thickly
Ipopulated and the wealthiest in the Republic, is also that
I in which rural property has reached its highest value. In
I the district of Lobos, a few hours from Buenos Ayres, a
field of 170 acres, known as the Atucha Meadow, was sold
for £26, 7s. 2d. per acre; another of the same area for
£59, 8s. 9d. per acre; another of 635 acres for £12, Is. Od.
per acre, and another of 587 acres for £14, 4s. per acre.

In the region of Rojas, also some hours from the Federal
capital, the land on which stood the " San Jos^," " Santa
Barbara," and "La Matilde," establishments belonging to
Sefior Roberto Cano, and whose area was 15,800 acres, was
sold for an average price of £8, 8s. per acre.

In the neighbourhood of Dolores, not far from Buenos
Ayres, a meadow belonging to the " Montes del Tordillo "
estate, composed of 18,850 acres, was sold for 19s. 14d. per
acre. In the section of Lincoln 10,000 acres were sold at prices
varying from 48s. to £5, 2s. per acre. At Trenque Lauquen,
one of the belts of land in Buenos Ayres which has seen the
most rapid rise in values, sales have been effected of 22,000


acres at prices rising from £1, 18s. to £3, 6s. per acre, the
average being £2, 8s.

In this same section, some 8 miles from the railway
station of Primera Junta, 1976 acres were in 1907 sold at
prices varying from £2, 8s. 3d. to £5, 12s. 9d. At General
Pinto the land belonging to the " Filadelfia " estate, 23,198
acres in extent, was sold at an average price per acre of
£2, 2s. 9d.

In the department of Olavarria 19,856 acres were sold in
1908 for prices varying from £3, 7s. 8d. to £7 per acre, the
average being £5.

In the department of General Conesa, 11,085 acres, facing
the Bay of Sao Borombon, and 23 miles east from San
Dolores, found a buyer at an average price of £1, 3s. 4d. per
acre. In the department of Coronel Pringles, the establish-
ment known as El Bombero, situated some 19 miles to the
west of Tres Arroyes, divided into thirty-one lots of from 37C
to 4940 acres, was sold at prices running from £2, Is. l|d
to £4, 2s.

Among these sales of 1908 which attracted most atten
tion were those transacted iu the Province of Buenos Ayres
These included a tract at Exaltacion de la Cruz of an are;
of 914 acres, near the railway station of Cardales, which
sold in small lots of from 58 to 180 acres, obtained ai
average price per acre of £29"6 per acre. At Lomas d'
Zamora the land of the establishment " Santa Ines " were soh,
to the Sansinena Company for £13, 3s. 6d. per acre. In th
department of Azul, a meadow known as " La Vanguardia," o
an area of 2080 acres, 11 miles from the town of Azu
found a buyer at £7, 16s. per acre. The San Miguel estatt
near the Manzanares railway station, subdivided into thirty
six lots, was sold at an average price of £10, 5s. per aer«,
On the 19th of August 1908, iu the same department, 74
acres fetched a price of £12, 9s. 2d. per acre. At Genen
Belgrano, less than 2 miles from the railway station, 329
acres, divided into five lots, were sold at prices varying froi
£8, lis. to £10, 13s. lOd. A tract of 499 acres aboi;
1000 yards from Jeppener Station, in the department c
Brandzen, was sold at the rate of £12, 5s. 9d. Finally, £
Burzaco, at a distance of 2500" yards from the station, 4£


lacres of land attained the fabulous figure of £42, ISs. per

1 These are high prices in comparison with those ruling

iformerly, and at present they are firmly maintained.

1 The prices of lands suitable for agriculture vary greatly,
according to their distance from the great city of Buenos
Ayres or the port of Baliia Blaiica, and their proximity to a
railway station ; accordingly as they have water near the
surface, and are thus adapted to the growth of lucerne ; and
according to the terms of payment granted by the vendors.
There are, of course, other factors as well.

I Among many other examples, we will cite the 588,050

.acres of land at Curumalan, ten hours from Buenos Ay res,
the property of a syndicate which bought them in 1903 from
Messrs Baring Bros, of London, at a price of £807,575. Up to
July the 1st, 1905, this company had sold more than 247,000
acres of land directly to agriculturalists — Russian for the most
part — at prices varying from £2, 10s. 8d. to £3, 4s. Id., allow-
ing them a term of three or four years for payment, plus an
interest of 8 per cent, per annum.

The Province of Cordoba is, after the Province of Buenos

I Ayres, that in which the land has most rapidly risen in value.
Transactions in rural property are very numerous and repre-

. sent an important figure. In the five years from 1899 to 1903,
about 9.386,000 acres have changed hands, and in 1904 alone
3,820,830 acres were sold.

i It is difficult to give an account of these transactions by
reason of their number ; but to cite only the most important,
we may mention a block of 61,750 acres in the department of
Juarez Celman, belonging to Alejandro Roca, which was sold
at public auction in the early part of 1905, at prices varying

' from 17s. lOid. to £2, 6s. per acre. In view of the prices which
the buyers realised later, they made a splendid bargain ; none

: of them sold for less than double what he gave. In the

: Union department of the same Province, 59,904 acres were
sold at prices varying from 13s. 3d. to £1, 168. lid. per acre.

Another important sale, efifected also in the early part of
the same year, was that which took place in the department
of Tulumba, fifty miles from the colony and railway station

i of Morteros on the Central Argentine railway. The block


sold comprised an area of 20,826 acres, and the prices obtained
varied from Is. 58d. to 2s. 2d. per acre.

In the Province of Santa Fe, the appreciation of land values
has of late years been neither so great nor so rapid as in
Buenos Ayres and Cordoba ; the reason being that it was
this Province which initiated the colonising movement in
1856, by the foundation of the Esperanza Colony, so that iU
land values had already undergone sudden augmentationsj
in previous years. In the five years from 1899 to 1903, th«;'
sales have amounted to £5,831,160 acres, and in 1904 tc
2,026,420 acres. In the department of General Lopej
23,487 acres were sold for prices varying between 28. 4d
and £2, 18s. 3d.

We may also note a tract of 8204 acres, 8 miles from hi
Serna railway station, which in 1908 was sold for £1, 12s
per acre. |

The Provinces of San Luis and Santiago de I'Estero wenj
the last to take part in this movement of appreciation c
land values. The former, in especial, has from this point o
view been a revelation to every one. As soon as it wa
discovered that the soil of this Province was admirable
adapted to the formation of splendid meadows of lucernei
its value rapidly rose from Is. 5^d. to 6s. 5"7d., 12s. lldj
and 19s. 5d. j

We must, in particular, mention a meadow known as tixi
" Agualapada," 98,000 acres in area, which on the 27th of Jul;;
1908 was sold at the rate per acre of 5s. 4d. 53,219 acres c
land, some 13 miles from the railway stations of Nueva Gali
and La Fortuna were bought at an average price of 10s. 3(
per acre. In the department of Pedernera 16,043 acre
divided into five lots, found purchasers at prices varyin
from 16s. 2d. and £1, Is, 2d. to £1, 15s. 9d.

But, as we have already said, it is in the Pampa — in the
vast country of 56,170 square miles in area— larger tha
England — which was incorporated in 1880, after the exped
tion led by General Roca — that the most surprising example
of appreciation are to be found. There all is undergoing
continual transformation ; each year the plough opens wid(
furrows for the seed ; the sowing of lucerne is rapidl
increasing ; stock-raising establishments are to be found i


:he very confines of the country ; and a larrje network of
-ailways, in operation, in construction, or under considera-
ion, promise to surround it on every hand, to circulate its
oroducts and to facilitate exchange. All these wonderful
oransformations are being effected under our eyes, day by
iay ; so that it is not surprising that the value of the soil
'follows this tide of energy.

In the Pampa Central, of late years, we have seen land
mitable for lucerne, with water 10 to 30 feet below the soil,
lot far from populated centres, and with means of rapid
;!ommunication, fetch prices which quadrupled those it had
touched eighteen months earlier, selling for as much as
£3, lis. 3d. per acre. In more than one case land which was
oought for £880 the square league was afterwards sold for

Among the sales of 1908 was one of a meadow of 18,525
icres, six miles from Utracan Station, which, sold by order
Df the law, fetched a price of I7s. lOd. per acre. In another
part of the same Territory 7698 acres were sold in a single
lot, on the 1st of October 1908, at the rate of £1, 4s. 7d. per
icre. In the Alfalfa Colony, during an auction sale, several
zJiacras, or small farms.attained prices varying from £1, 19s. 3d.
to £2, 2s. 9d. per acre.

By the Catrilo railway station on the Western Railway,
situated in the same Territory of El Pampa, is a field whose
3wner, M. Mathias R. Sturiza, was oflfered £61,600 for it ; two
years earlier he had bought it for £5280.

Competent authorities assure us that in the neighbourhood
of Santa Rosa de Toay, the capital of the Territory of the
Pampa, the value of the fields has been shown by recent
sales to have increased by 300 per cent. In the department
of Victoria, in the same Territory, fields which a while ago
were oflfered at 28. 15d. per acre, are to-day selling for
i£l, is. 4d. — ten times that sum.

i Such are the chief manifestations of the economic
phenomena of the appreciation of land values ; one of the
most interesting of the problems which present themselves to
the observer of the modern Argentine Republic. Is it a true
symptom of national vitality, or must we see in these data
the warnings of a period of commercial crisis, characterised ,


according to the learned economist Juglar, by the rise of all
values and by frantic speculation ?

Events, which unroll themselves amidst our feverish
Argentine activities far more rapidly than in other countries,
will not be long in giving us the answer to these questions.*

* The importance of the sales of rural property is to-day so great, and
speculation so eager, that the prices given here, according to information
gathered barely a few months ago, appear to us already as ancient history.

, M

I ¥'
J iB-ta









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CGAR-t-'ANE — Area of plantations — Statistics of production — Legislation
affecting sugar — Consumption.

ijjES — Area of vineyards planted — Production, consumption — Imperfect quality
— Competition of foreign imports.

OBACCO — Area of plantations — Value of the product — Defective preparation.

UE MuLBRRKi — The culture of the silk-worm might be established in the
Argentine, but at present exists only in an experimental condition.

!ate — Largo consumption of this product. — Statistics of foreign importation —
Districts suitable for its growth.

OTTON — Physical conditions proper to its growth — The first favourable results
in the Argentine — Its introduction into Chaco — Lack of manual labour for
the dbvelopment of this industry.

CBBER — Existence of rubber plants in the Argentine — An unexploited source
of wealth.

RBORiccLTORE — On account of the diversity of the climate, all fruit-trees can
be grown in the Argentine — The various fruits cultivated in different
regions — Amelioration of the products. The trade in fruit — Its develop-
ment possible on account of the inversion of seasons as compared with
Europe — Refrigeration applied to the transport of fruit — Regions particu-
larly suitable for fruit-growing.

RESIDES the culture of cereals, such as wheat and maize
J and linseed, and the important grazing and cattle-breeding
idustries of the Argentine, together with their dependent
iidustriea, there are other forms of agriculture and forms
t: natural produce, some of which have already attained a
ireat importance, while others are destined to become equally
ioportant in the near future ; that is, if the progress of
•/olution in the Argentine follows, as there is reason to
ppe, its natural upward course.

; Sugar - cane. — Among the agricultural industries the
ulture of the sugar-cane assumes the first rank. The cane
: cultivated principally in the Province of Tucuman, in
hich Province are established the greater number of the
.'igar factories existing in the Republic. The caue is also


planted, and flourishes, in portions of the Provinces o
Santiago, Salta, and Jujuy ; in the north of Santa Fe, ii
Corrientes, and in the Territories of Formosa, Chaco, an

Sugar-planting is an industry of considerable antiquit:
in the Argentine ; but it has attained a remarkable develop
ment chiefly in the last ten years, owing to the high pric;
of sugar and the establishment of numerous factorif.
equipped with perfected machinery ; owing also to tb
notable profits which the industry ofi'ers.

The result has been an excess of production, which h
the industry into a dangerous cri^^is, from which it is no
in a fair way to recover. Those who suffered the most we
those who had abused their credit by building expensr
factories and laying down costly plant ; and those who h{
planted sugar in soils unsuited to its culture, or in regie:
of unfavourable climate, or where the means of transpc.
were insufficient.

The total area cultivated in 1907 was estimated at abc,
172,900 acres, of which 14,029 were in the Province '
Tucuman ; 11,115 in Southern Chaco; 6916 in Salta ; 3952 i
Jujuy, and 2717 in Santiago de I'Estero; the rest bei;
divided among various other regions of the Republic ; th( }
figures representing an increase of nearly 24,000 acu
over those of 1895. These 172,900 acres of cane give i
average yield of 30 tons of sugar per hectare, or ll"Tf
tons per acre, representing a total yield of 132,160 tons f

The greatest number of sugar refineries are to be f ou 1
in the Province of Tucuman, where there are thirty-two. Q
the other sugar-growing districts there are only thirtei,
which are distributed as follows: Three in Jujuy, two, a
Santiago de I'Estero, one in Salta, one in Misiones, six n
the banks of the Parana River, two in Santa Fe, two n
Corrientes, one in Chaco, and one in Formosa.

The net cost of producing the cane, ready for deliv(f,
is about 5 to 7 centavos* per 10 kilograms. Taking w

* The centavo is ^h; °^ '^^ °^ *^^ piastre. In metallic currency it is e al
to the American cent, and nearly to the English halfpenny; in papt J*
is worth a little over one-fifth of a penny = -22727 pence.


basis a yield of 30,000 kilograms per hectare and a sale price
of 12 centavos, the growers would make a net profit of
140 piastres per hectare ; or, with the value of the piastre
note at 22 francs, of £4, 2s. 6d. per acre. Thus sugar-
planting is a profitable industry under normal conditions.

The outgoings and receipts on an acre of soil planted
with cane may be estimated as follows : —

By sale of 12 tone of cane, at 12-8d. per

cwt £12 IG


Cost of Planting —

Tilling and preparing soil £0 9 11

Lining out and fixing shoots

Shoots, preparation, etc. ...
Coit of Harvestimj —

Cutting 12 tons of cane

Preparing the cane

Transport to factory and extras

1 Interest on the land, or rent, taxes, and

[ redemption

I Net profit

With an increased consumption of sugar, the culture
pf the Ciine will occupy a far greater area of the belt in
which it is already established. It is, however, limited by
the interests of the manufacturers themselves, who limit
:)roduction in order to keep up the price of sugar, and so
obtain higher profits ; sugar of native preparation being
Drotected by laws which strike at the importation of foreign





2 13


1 1


£7 2
12 IG

£5 14

* This is an interesting object-lesson in the working of a tariff. Foreign
!:ompetition once abolished by the increased prices of foreign articles, the
kative manufacturer will always minimise, and oven destroy, the protection
i.fforded by the tariff, by increasing his own prices. If he cannot do so
laturally he will do so by lessening his output ; with the result that sooner or
iter the tariff will actually increase foreign imports and still further limit
riome production. Obviously the only circumstance under which it can
i'ermanently profit even the manufacturers is this : a tariff so high as to
aake importation ruinous ; when the home producer will raise his prices until
hey are just below the line of unprofitable inflation ; which, from the context,
.ould seem to be the case in the Argentine. The consumer must suffer, and
sually the emp^oy^.— [Tbans.J


In 1907 2,49«,000 lb. of foreign refined sugar were
imported, their value being £181,755 ; but on the other hand
140,370 lb. were exported during the same year.

It is to be hoped that the price of sugar will not fall too
low, as this might bring about the ruin of an industry which
is worth encouraging and preserving : but it is essential, on
the other hand, to oppose an excessive inflation, which would
diminish the consumption of this valuable alimentary product,
and would force the consumer to pay the exaggerated profits
of a small number of manufacturers and planters. This is
the inherent peril of excessive protection.

The law of 23rd January 1904 and the regulation of
25th October of the same year have provided for this
condition. One must not forget that all commerce is
conditioned by the law of supply and demand, and that to
avoid overloading the market with produce, production must
be limited, according to circumstances, and in proportion to
actual requirements ; and beyond the limit of absorption
the productive energies of the country must be diverted to
other cultures or industries, more remunerative and more
certain as to results.*

Of all the sugar sold in the Argentine, only part is
refined ; there is at present only one refinery t in the
country ; namely, the " Refineria Argentina " of Rosario.
The greater proportion of Argentine sugar is delivered to
the consumer in the form of " moist " or brown sugar, which
is graded according to its colour and the care taken in its

Online LibraryAlberto B MartínezThe Argentine in the twentieth century [microform] → online text (page 16 of 33)