UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: October 11, 300 AP.

Okarvits proposes Central Produce Board

President-in-waiting Okarvits today outlined his plans for agricultural reform in Utania under the watchful eyes of both foreign investors and domestic small producers. No policy is likely to gain so many enemies or friends as the President's agricultural policy, as millions of people in rural Utania are dependent on agriculture for employment.

Furthermore, elements within the Utani-Sædaj Party, itself heavily dependent on voted from rural Utani who have, for years, worked fields for the oppressive Guwimith regime, advocate complete land reform, and complete nationalisation of the massive Belson Corporation, which dominates as much as a third of Utania's agricultural industry, but notoriously pays as little as 20% of the agricultural produce income to farmers.

President Okarvits has tread the middle ground: he is proposing a voluntary Central Produce Board that will buy from the smaller producers giving them an alternative to the monolithic monopoly, the Belson corporation. The Board will pay significantly more to farmers than Belson Corporation, therefore forcing Belson to pay more.

Critics have immediately appeared, not least of all from within Belson Corporation. Belson Corporation Chairman Mark J Belson denounced the plan as "a quick way to bankrupt the country!" He said that the Board would need "massive" funding to pay farmers what they think they deserve. The Liberal Nationalist leader Kyle Langley questioned whether the policy was pro-Utanian, for all Utanians, while the Conservative Party leadership echoed Belson's bankruptcy claims.

Farmers have so far been moderately quiet to date, refusing to criticise the new government, but unhappy that it doesn't spell the end of Belson's monopoly. USP MP's have said that Belson Corporation exclusive contracts with producers will mean that real profits will not flow through to farmers for up to twenty years, and that Belson agents are busily signing up farmers throughout the country.

Agriculture represents as much as 40% of the Utanian economy, and the Belson Corporation represents almost 20% of the total market.

©UPA, 300 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2000. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)