Argentina from a British Point of View

by: Various

Language: English
Published: 1 week ago
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Argentina, which does not profess to be a manufacturing country, exported in 1909 material grown on her own lands to the value of £79,000,000, and imported goods to the extent of £60,000,000. This fact arrests our attention, and forces us to recognise that there is a trade balance of nearly 20 millions sterling in her favour, and to realise the saving power of the country.

It is not mere curiosity which prompts us to ask: "Are these £79,000,000 worth of exports of any value to us? Do we consume any of them? Do we manufacture any of them? And do we send any of this same stuff back again after it has been dealt with by our British artisans?" It would be difficult to follow definitely any one article, but upon broad lines the questions are simple and can be easily answered. Amongst the agricultural exports we find wheat, oats, maize, linseed, and flour. The value placed upon these in 1908 amounted to £48,000,000, and England pays for and consumes nearly 42 per cent. of these exports. Other goods, such as frozen beef, chilled beef, mutton, pork, wool, and articles which may be justly grouped as the results of the cattle and sheep industry, amounted to no less a figure than £23,000,000. All these exports represent foodstuffs or other necessities of life, and are consumed by those nations which do not produce enough from their own soil to keep their teeming populations. Another export which is worthy of particular mention comes from the forests, viz., quebracho, which, in the form of logs and extract, was exported in 1908 to the value of £1,200,000. The value of material of all sorts sent from England to Argentina in 1908 was £16,938,872 (this figure includes such things as manufactured woollen goods, leather goods, oils, and paints), therefore it is clear that we have, and must continue to take, a practical and financial interest in the welfare and prosperity of Argentina.

New countries cannot get on without men willing and ready to exploit Nature's gifts, and, naturally, we look to the immigration returns when considering Argentina's progress. To give each year's return for the last 50 years would be wearisome, but, taking the average figures for ten-year periods from 1860 to 1909, we have the following interesting table. (The figures represent the balance of those left in the country after allowing for emigration):—

Yearly Average.From1860to1869(inclusive)15,044"1870"1879"29,462"1880"1889"84,586"1890"1899"43,618"1900"1909"100,998

Sixty-five per cent. of the immigrants are agricultural labourers, who soon find work in the country, and again add their quota to the increasing quantity and value of materials to be exported. Facing this page is a diagram of the Immigration Returns from 1857 to 1909.

Nature has been lavish in her gifts to Argentina, and man has taken great advantage of these gifts. My desire now is to show what has been done in the way of developing agriculture in this richly-endowed country during the last fifty years....