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There are in several districts, and especially in the
neighbourhood of Misiones, rudimentary factories where an
impure sugar known as " rapadura " is prepared, which is
sold in cubes or tablets. We have no precise data as to the
production of the various grades of sugar.

During the last twelve years the manufacture of sugar

* See the important work entitled La Culture des Flantes Industrielles dam
la lUpuhlique Argentine, by Carlos D. Girola, published in the Recensement di
^agriculture et de I'dlevage de la Nation, Vol. 1. 1908, from which these datf
are extracted.

t The thirty-two factories hitherto referred to would presumably be crushing
mills, where cane is crushed, the juice evaporated into syrup or molasses am
in some cases dried, the product being "raw" sugar. — [Trans.]


has been greatly improved, as a consequence of tlie crisis
through which the industry passed, which demonstrated the
necessity of perfecting the methods of preparing and refining
the "sap," etc. To-day a yield is obtained of 7^, 8^, and
even 9 per cent, of sugar.

The capital sunk in the sugar industry in the Province
of Tucuman amounts in round figures to £4,136,000, and
is distributed as follows: Land, £1,232,000; plantations,
£440,000; machinery, £1,496,000; buildings £968,000.

It will be as well to give some retrospective data here,
which will show how far the production of sugar has
developed during the last few years. In another chapter we
shall deal with the production of sugar from the industrial
point of view.

Thus, in 1884 the harvest was 24,000 tons; in 1894,
: 75,000 tons; and in 1895 it amounted to 109,000 tons, or an
j increase of 352 per cent, in eleven years. In 1904 the yield
I was 134,000, or an increase of 360 per cent, over that of 1884.
! In 1905 it was 137,000 tons ; in 1906, 180,000 ; in 1907, 113,000.
We have stated that the Argentine Republic underwent
a crisis in the matter of sugar, on account of excessive
[production; and that like other sugar-producing nations she
'has had to facilitate the export of the surplus by granting
;l bounty to exportation.

This premium or bounty was conceded in the following
[manner : a law of 1894 forced the producer to pay 6 centavos
per kilogram, or •576d. per lb. on manufactured sugar ; but
'offered him a bounty of 16 centavos per kilogram — l'536d.
per pound — on all sugar exported under certain conditions.

This law ceased to be in force on the 31st of December
1904; but was replaced by another, of the 1st of January
1905, by which the manufacturer who did not export 25 per
cent, of the sugar he produced paid 15 centavos per kilogram —
or l'44d. per lb. — on a quarter of his produce, or on the pro-
portion which he did not export.

These two laws contain a radical difference. By the first,
the State received 6 centavos per kilogram upon all sugar
1 manufactured, of which it restored 4 centavos for each
■kilogram delivered for consumption, and then restored 16
i centavos for each kilogram exported ; thus keeping to u


minimum tax of 2 centavos on sugar delivered for con-
sumption. By the second law the State received nothing on
sugar leaving the factory, as the producer confined himself
to giving an undertaking for the value of 15 centavos per
kilogram on a quarter of his manufactures, which under-
taking was returned to him if he exported a quarter of
his produce ; so that in case he did export his produce the
State gained absolutely nothing. But according to a resolu-
tion on the part of the Government, passed in April 1905, the
tax of 15 per cent, was 8uppressed,togetherwith the obligation
of exporting a certain percentage of the sugar made. The
sugar industry thereupon entered upon a new period of
absolute liberty, and at the same time was deprived of
oflScial protection. In this matter the Argentine Republic
acted in accordance with the international agreement of
Brussels, which suppressed the sugar bounty.

The consumption of sugar during the eight years 1897-
1904 was 780,000 tons, or 97,000 tons per annum. This
consumption has not actually been uniform ; for instance, in
1897, about 80,000 tons were consumed ; while in 1904, 1905,
1906 and 1907, the figures were respectively about 115,000,
162,000, 127,000, and 109,000 tons.

Vines. — Another important branch of agriculture in the
Argentine is viticulture, which is more especially utilised in
the Provinces of Mendoza and San Juan. To give some idea
of the development of this branch of agriculture we may
state that in 1885 80,376 acres were planted with vines,
while to-day the figure is over 139,000. Of this total 74,620
acres are in Mendoza and 30,580 in San Juan. The different
species of grape are selected from the best to be found in
cultivation in France and other vine-growing countries.

The vineyards have been laid out under favourable con-
ditions, yet their product leaves something to be desired.
Moreover, bad wines have often been put on the markets, sour
wines, and wines adulterated with water, which have dis-
credited the native wines, and have led many to doubt
whether the Argentine wine industry can ever really take

The factor which has chiefly contributed to this disastrous
result is the lack of capital from which the industry suffers ;




the result being that the processes of fermentation and
maturing are not given sufficient time.

Pressed by their liabilities, the Argentine vine-growers
hurry over their wine-making, so as to put their wares on
the market as quickly as possible, in order to meet their
engagements. The general result, apart from exceptions as
honourable as few in number, is that the industry produces
decoctions of a kind, but not wines.

Despite these unfortunate conditions the consumption of
the wines of the country has reached a very considerable
figure, which fact has greatly contributed, thanks to very
heavy customs duties, to the exclusion of foreign wines. In
1899, to go back no further, the total consumption of wine in
the Republic was 322,431,166 pints, of which 237,600,000
pints were of wines of the country, and 84,800,000 of foreign
wines (not including those imported in bottles). In 1900
304,440,000 pints were consumed ; 221,760,000 of native
wines and 82,680,000 of foreign wines. In 1901, out of
327,360,000 pints, 242,880,000 were of native and 84,480,000 of
foreign wines ; in 1904, of a consumption of 373,120,000 pints,
307,000,000 were of native and 66,120,000 of foreign wines.

In 1907 the total consumption of wines in the entire
Republic, according to the office of National Statistics and
Administration of Inland Revenue, amounted to 638,843,680
pints, of which 558,096,000 were of native production and
100,747,680 were imported.

The production of native wines is limited, as we have
seen, to wines for general consumption. The finer varieties
are imported.

The consumption of wines of quality in 1907 reveals a
considerable increase since the previous year ; which is yet
another proof in support of the many to be found in this
book of the excellent economic and therefore gastronomic
conditions of the country. The large and profitable results
if the harvests enable the people to place fine wines upon
i,heir tables.

The customs, which are always a faithful barometer of
;he degree of well-being which a people enjoys, affi^rd us
I proof of what we have affirmed. In 1907 there passed
through the customs houses, coming from abroad, 59,520 dozens


of bottles of champagne, 1988 dozens of sherry, plus 31,438
pints in the wood; 6925 dozens of port, plus 113,843 pints in
the wood ; 516,520 dozens of vermouth ; 27,624 dozens of
semi-fine wines; 1249 dozens of French clarets, and 8111
dozens of sparkling wines. The vins ordinaire imported
represented a total of 100,748,680 pints.

As we have already seen, the area of the vineyards in
existence at the end of 1907 was of 13 9^132^ 30 acres, their
value being £18,400,000. As for their yield, it amounted to
1,121,523,300 lbs. of grapes, or more than 518,000 tons, with
an estimated value of £3,680,000.

There are, in the Argentine Republic, 3097 establishments
devoted to the exploitation of the vineyards and the making
of wine, disposing of a total capital of some £4,320,000.
Their products amount to 66,762,000 gallons of wine, repre-
senting a value of £4,720,000.

If we compare the production of the Argentine with that
of the principal nations of the two Americas, we obtain, for
the year 1907, the following table : —

Argentine Republic ... ... 556,096,000 pints

Chili ... ... .. ... 475,200,000

United States ... ... ... 281,160,000

Brazil ... ... ... ... 56,320,000

Pern ... ... ... ... 17,248,000

Uruguay ... ... ... 16.192,000

Bolivia ... ... ... ... 5,576,000

Mexico ... ... ... ... 3,168,000

The Argentine wine industry, in which millions have been
engaged, is, as we see, on the road of progress. It has to-day
accomplished a rapid and a very considerable development
which might well, in the near future, eliminate the imported
product from the market, at least in the case of wines foi
ordinary consumption.

Like the sugar industry, the wine-growing industry ha:
gone through its crisis. On the one hand the abuse madi
of credit in establishing warehouses, cellars, and costly plant
and on the other defective methods of manufacture whicl
brought the product into discredit, produced a deep-roote"
depression, from which the industry has hardly yet emergec
It cannot look to the future until it perfects its means c


preparation, working out its brands with the aid of tiuio
and patience.

This industry, says an eminent writer, gives work to
more than 100,000 inhabitants, and represents, as a matti-r
of national wealth, a value in vineyards and factories of
some £19,000,000 ; it produces annually £4,840,000 worth of
merchandise, contributes £6,950,000 to the general tnide,
and surpasses in importance, both in the capital employed
and in its products, the sugar industry of the country,
which in 1907 manufactured sugar only to the value of

Tobacco. — For a long time the tobacco-plant has been
cultivated in the Argentine; for we find, in various zones,
conditions very favourable to its production; but its culture
has by no means as yet acquired the importance of which it
is capable, and is very far from satisfyiug the needs of
national consumption.

The exports are insignificant: 37,983 lb. in 1906, and
16,612 lb. in 1907, of the respective values of £539 and
£226. The lack of care brought to the cultivation
of the plant and to the preparation of the leaf, together
with incomplete experience from the industrial point
of view, have contributed to check the increase of planta-
tions, which ought to occupy a far larger area than
they do.

Tobacco is grown chiefly in the northern region
composed of the Provinces of Corrientes, Salta, and Tucu-
man ; it is also grown to a less extent in the Provinces
and Territories of Misiones, Formosa, Chaco, Catamarca,
La Rioja, and Jujuy. It may be grown equally well in the
central region composed of the Provinces of Buenos Ayres,
Entre Rios, Santa Fe, and C6rdoba ; and even further south.
There were formerly, and are still, tobacco plantations in
the Province of Buenos A.yres, which appeared to promise
a fair future for tobacco-planting ; but all is as yet in a
rudimentary condition, and the industry makes no appreci-
able progress.

* See I' Industrie viti-vinicole de la Ripublique Ar^/enttne, by Ricardo
Palencia, an essay published in the Reccnscment de Vagriculture et de l'dleva(/e de
la Nation. Vol. I. Buenos Ayres.


The areas planted with tobacco in 1895 and 1907 were
as follows : —





Province of Corrientes



., „ Salta



,, ,, Tucmnan



Territory of Mision^s



,, ,, FormoBa and Chaco (South)



Province of Cdrdoba



Other Provinces —

Buonos Ayres, Santa Fe, Catamarca



Totals ... 39,422 51,375

The agricultural census of 1895 affirmed the existence of
3348 acres of tobacco in C6rdoba. while the Bulletin of the
Division of Statistics at the Ministry of Agriculture announced
only 1729 acres ; in short, everything leads to the conclusion:
that we have to deal either with gross blunders or with
erroneous information. As it has not been practicable for;
us to verify these figures we must suppose that in 1895 there
was not so large an area planted as the figures would lead us.
to believe.*

The Mulberry. — The culture of the mulberry-tree should
perhaps be included in that of industrial crops, since its leaves
are the food of the silkworm.

From the time of the Spanish Conquest, says Carlos
Girola, the engineer, our competent guide in the matter of
industrial crops, the silkworm was raised in the Province of;
Cuyo, and silk was woven there on the hand-loom ; but, on!
account of the facilities of transport, imported silks brought
such a competition to bear upon the hand-made native
article that the silkworm industry gradually dwindled and
finally became extinct. ;

Numerous experiments have of late years proved that:
the silkworm can be raised over a great part of the country ;'
and that it has the best chances of development where the!
population is densest, labour most abundant, and the houses!
of the workers largest and most comfortable, as in the
Provinces of Buenos Ayres (North) and Santa F^, and in parts

♦ See La Culture des Plnntes industrielles dans la R^publique Argentine, by
Carlos D. Girola. \


of Entre Rios and Cordoba. So far, however, there is no
demand for the native cocoons, and it is so difficult to place
bhem that at present one cannot recommend the silkworm
ndustry except as an experiment or a speculation.

The mulberry-tree grows and flourishes excellently on
:he greater portion of the Argentine soil, and especially in
.he central and northern districts, where it springs up (luickly
ind vigorously. It is greatly to be desired that it should be
nore widely cultivated, and that its wider cultivation should
;o hand in hand with the development of the sericultural
ndustry, which in some countries constitutes one of the
principal sources of wealth.

: The mulberry also furnishes an excellent wood, and ita
leaves may be used to feed cattle as well as silkworms,
nstead of planting trees which are of no industrial use, the
nulberry should be given the place of preference.

Yerba MaU. — The " yerba mate," or mat^ shrub, is met
Vith in the woods of Misiones, where it grows in irregular
lumps of varying extent. It has been known since the
ime of the Jesuits, who were the first to plant and cultivate
fc, as is proved by the plantations which to this day exist in
he territory of the Argentine Missions (Misiones). With
he leaf of this plant infusions are made, as with tea, coffee,
3Coa, etc. The matheine contained in the leaves is possessed
■f properties at once tonic and stimulating.

The infusion of " yerba mate " is usually made in a
sceptacle shaped like a pear with an orifice at the smaller
nd ; * it is imbibed by means of a silver tube having at one
ad a bulb pierced with holes, which performs the office of
strainer, and is known as the honihilla. This method of
reparation and of use is now tending to disappear ; and
lat^ is now often prepared in the same way as coffee, the
bsult being a very refreshing drink, very valuable in the
)untry districts for the refreshment of travellers. Statistics
rove that the consumption of mat6 is continually increasing ;
ad as the national production is insufficient, recourse is had

) * Usually a gourd is used, of either spherical, ovoid, or pear-like shape,
th one end sliced off; it is commonly polished and carved, often by Guachos
I Indians. Each drinker has his own gourd and bombilla, the latter being
I'cessitated by the use of the leaf in the form of a powder. — [Tbanu.]


to importation from Brazil and Paraguay. The amount of
these imports for 1907 was as follows : —

Pounds. Value.

Mate imported from Brazil 100.189,162 £1,000,364

„ Paraguay ... 6,654,276 61,182 ,

Total of imported mate ... 106,843,438 £1.061.546
Importation in 1906 £970,154.

We have no information respecting the national produd
tion of mat^, but we have every reason to suppose that 1
does not exceed 11,000.000 lb. ; that is, between a ninth ant,
a tenth of the quantity consumed. There is thus a vas
field of development for this branch of agriculture, es-peciall
in the Territory of Misiones, which offers all the condition'
favourable to the culture of the plant.*

Encouraged by these figures, and by the desire to replac
the forests of ilex, destroyed by improvident exploitatioi
attempts have been made to develop the culture of mate^
and the first results appear to augur well for the future (•
this undertaking.

M. Thays, Director of the Parks and Promenades of Buem
Ayres, to whom we owe the floral and arboreal embellishmei
of the Argentine metropolis, was the first to overcome tl
obstacles to the artificial culture of the mate shrubs from tl^

The development of the plant is fairly rapid ; the plucj;
ing of the leaves may be commenced at the end of six yeai
and sometimes earlier : the treatment necessary for i
cultivation is very much that demanded by ordinary orcha
trees. Its longevity is great, and so far it is not known to
subject to any disease.

The cultivation of mate may spread beyond the Territo^
of Misiones, into the favourable soil of Corrientes, Chai
and Formosa ; possibly into other parts of the northern a
central regions; and it may give way to a more intensi^
culture. M. Thays has obtained specimens of mate frd
seed in the Botanical Garden of Buenos Ayres, where he li
grown it in the open air.

* See La Culture des Plantes industruUes dans la RipubJtque Argentine,^
Carlos Girola.



Cotton. — Of the various territories of the Arcrcntine,

nne leud themselves so well as Chaco, Formosa, and INliaioii^s

ii the cultivation of the cotton-plant; not only by reason

it <■ their climatic conditions, but also on account of the

■ (imposition of their soil.

i' The cotton-plant is indigenous to the islands and sea-
casts of the Tropics, and its geographical limits of cultiva-
[Du, on either side of the Equator, run to 40° of latitude in
?K( ^e north, and in the south to about 30°, but never as far
tli f'Uth as 35° or 40°, in spite of the probable suitability of
itl tose latitudes.

The plant hardly suffers from the greatest heats of a

; t jpical summer, while very cold weather interrupts its

iilii. cganic functions. It requires a hot, moist atmosphere for

, is development, but the moisture must not be excessive,

rtf I the plant will grow too rapidly.

)itr, I It is doubtless thanks to these natural conditions that

[e itton-planting attained to a certain degree of development

it: i. the Territories of Chaco, Formosa, and Misiou^s as soon

the tillers of the soil became aware of its profitable nature.

The cultivation of this valuable textile is not, however,

isk ^w to this country. It was grown long ago, chiefly in

)i lisiones, during the administration of the Jesuit Fathers,

ri jho made from it cloth for their own use, and also for

irposes of trade. But with the expulsion of the members

the celebrated Company of Jesus, and the resulting

J I (ipopulation of the countryside, decadence overcame this

j(i ranch of agriculture, and finally an almost total extinction,

dtt; ptil to the people of the country it was no more than a

n\ memory.

Finally, in 1894, cotton was sown as an experiment in
ijjfj le Territory of Formosa; a few grains of the "Louisiana"
^ g id " Sea-Island " types, brought from the United States,
^j„ The results were excellent, and encouraged the sowing
jj(({ f larger areas. There are now, in the various colonies
jl^( punded in Chaco, which grow practically nothing but cotton,
jjIj, bme 13,600 acres under cotton. It may to-day be asserted,
iiys an official report, that Chaco is in the van of the
i^public in the production of cotton ; by reason of the area
• ader cultivation, the quantity of cotton picked at each


harvest, and the importance of its trade with the Buen
Ayres market.* In the short space of two years, from Maii
1902 to March 1904, the exports from Barranqueras, ts
port of this region, amounted to 850,564 lb. of cotton a I
286,831 lb. of cotton-seed. From this we may well aug,
as the above-mentioned report asserts, that Chaco will beco:)
a great cotton-producing country, on condition that varifj
refractory factors are eliminated. I

That the reader may form some idea of the future ii.
store, during the economic development of the Argenti:,
for the cultivation and exploitation of cotton, he need oi;
refer to the following calculation as to its results. The lal
in Chaco given over to cotton yields, in good years, i
average crop per acre of 1785 lb. of cotton "in the pod'-
that is, fibre and seed together. Selling the cotton at ii
very low price of •96d. per lb. — and the present price f
cotton runs to 116d., l"44d., and l-65d. per lb. — the minimvi
yield would be £7, 2s. per acre, even with prices as lows
we have indicated. As for working expenses, they do it
exceed £4, 5s. 6d. per acre, unless by some trifling sii,
according to locality ; so that the average profit would e
about £2, 16s. per acre.

This is the cost of production of an acre planted wa
cotton during the first year. Later the expenses diminli
by 25 per cent., so that the net profit might reach £3, lis. I.
per acre.

One of the great obstacles in the way of the full deveL -
ment of this industry is to be found in the lack of hai s
indispensable for the minute and delicate operations connec;i
with gathering the crop. It has even happened, during le
last few years, that in certain districts as much as 3s. 7d. ] r
cwt. has been offered for selected cotton, and in others s
much as a third of the results of the harvest. But e
may be sure that when the native farmer and the forein
agriculturalist once awaken to the extraordinary pros
which cotton yields, its production will assume a i
larger scale.

* See the notable monograph entitled : Investigaciones algodeneras en )■'
territorios del Chaco, Formosa y Misiones, ano 1904, by the agronon al
engineer, Fidel Macial Perez, npon whoso data we have drawn for this bool


" I Aa the growers have to deal with nn industrial branch
' f. agriculture in process of establishment it has not yet been
^' ^jssible to draw from it all the profit that is secured in
* )iher countries : cotton-seed, for example, in the United
^'' states especially, is a considerable source of wealth, but
^ fi the Argentine the growers have scarcely begun to
''^ Itilise it by the extraction of its oil. But there is a

"jginning: several mills have lately been established for
'"' Ilia purpose. The agronomic expert Macial has justly
P' imarked that we only require spinning-mills and looms
■'' <>r the cycle of the cotton industry in Chaco to attain its
^' ftmpletion.

^^ ' Rubber. — Another source of forestal wealth in the
F .rgentine, and one which is for the moment unexploited, —
'i j-incipally because of local depopulation and a lack of means
™ <j transport — is the extraction of the rubber contained
^ i certain tropical plants.

li" I Lately, for example, competent observers have discovered
<i« iat the true rubber-plant, the Ficus elastica, exists in
I'- Sundance in the north-east of the Republic, and in the
i tovinces of Salta and Jujuy, between 23° and 26° of south

Ititude, and 62° and 66° of west longitude. It is this tree
i' )hich has given such value to the Brazilian territory of Acre
IE ilid to various other regions of Brazil.
Hi i Various plants yield rubber : one species, of a family

iiown as " lecherones," grows in the darkest and dampest
eii -i^rts of the forest ; others, called " heveas " in Brazil, are
a inch thinner in the stem ; and finally there is a third kind,
118 le " liane " or rubber vine.

Online LibraryAlberto B MartínezThe Argentine in the twentieth century [microform] → online text (page 17 of 33)