WE MUST NOT SEPARATE THE INTENSIFICATION
WITH PRIORITY IN THE ALLOCATED LOWLAND ZONE
FROM THE INTENSIFICATION OF AGRICULTURE
OVER THE WHOLE COUNTRY
Contribution at the meeting of the Political Bureau
of the CC of the PLA (1)
April 24, 1982
(1) This meeting discussed the report of the Ministry of Agriculture, presented by the council of Ministers, «On the work done and the measures for the application of the directive of the 8th Congress of the Party about the priority intensification of agricultural and livestock production in the allocated lowland zones».
The directive of the 8th Congress of the Party about the priority intensification of the main part of the plains of the coastal zone of the country requires that we study the matter much more profoundly, especially now that we are concretizing this directive and putting it into practice.
Inspired by the decisions of the Congress, the working people of agriculture all over the country have gone into action to attain the targets of the 7th Five-year Plan. In the zone about which we are talking, too, the orientations of the Party about the priority intensification of agriculture are being reaffirmed and concretized.
Nevertheless the study which we are examining today leads us to the conclusion that we have launched the ideas about intensification, but not all the issues have been properly understood, and that is why we are proceeding in fits and starts on this matter, in the allocation of the means which must be added for this purpose as well as on many other problems. After the contributions which have been made here I want to make clear once again the orientation on how the intensification in this zone should be understood and, in connection with this, how this material should be restudied and discussed by the rank and file, so that the measures which must be taken can be discussed and decided unequivocally at a future meeting of the Political Bureau . . .
In the first place it must be clear to the state and economic organs that the Party's orientation about priority intensification of the plains of the coastal zone does not mean that now the problem of intensification is presented for this zone alone. If the idea of intensification is conceived in this way, this is not only politically incorrect, but will not give the desired economic results either. From the political aspect it will create an undesirable situation in the mentality of the cooperativist peasantry of the other zones. The peasants might think: «Why are the cooperativists of this zone favoured, while no measures are being taken in our favour?» This will be one of the consequences if we concentrate all our attention on this zone and weaken our attention in the least to the rest of agriculture. Likewise, from the economic aspect we cannot achieve the objectives set for the increase of the agricultural and livestock products by concentrating only on the plains of the coastal zone, which cover about 100 thousand hectares, when we have 600-700 thousand hectares of arable land in other parts of the country, on which the overwhelming bulk of the cooperativist peasantry live and work . . .
We must look at the distribution of the material technical base with this eye, too. According to the material presented you intend to allocate another 970 tractors and 266 header harvesters to the zone with the highest intensification, while to the other zone which, as we said, covers an area 6-7 times greater you intend to allocate less, only 316 tractors and 174 header harvesters, that is, about a third of those which are to go to the zone of highest intensification, which even today is more heavily mechanized.
Therefore I think we should be very careful in this direction and not think «the sky is the limit», and since this zone is being intensified let us give it 3 times more machinery than the other zones, to which we have allocated no small tasks to increase production. We must take proper account of this, because we have a bad habit that we get carried away by a new idea and sometimes it happens, as for example when we get new tractors and trucks, that everybody wants to abandon the old ones and take new ones. The idea of the priority intensification of the plains seems to have been worked out more or less in this way, too.
The monetary and material means for the development of agriculture during this five-year plan have been allocated.
The zone about which we are speaking is included in the overall five-year plan for the development of agriculture according to the orientations given by the Congress and occupies an important part within this plan, which must be accomplished without fail, indeed, efforts must be made to overfulfil it over the entire country . . .
Intensification in itself is a very progressive idea of extreme importance, but it is also quite complicated. Do we have the means necessary to accomplish such a great and important idea all at once? Calculations will show that we have only some of them. Therefore, if we do not examine this progressive idea thoroughly, if we do not think about how these means must be supplemented and where they should be found, which of them can be produced in the country and other such matters, the intensification could be hindered or might make some progress, but would fail to achieve the objectives set at the proper time, because there are inhibiting factors.
In order to carry out the advanced idea for the priority intensification of about 100 thousand hectares of land, amongst other things, excavators and other machines are needed to dig canals. Now the question arises: where will those machines be found and can they be produced in the country? Apart from this, pipes, cement, gravel, rock, and trucks for transport are required, that is. an extensive material base is necessary. Then it will be necessary to open motor roads, etc. Therefore the Ministry of Agriculture must understand the problem thoroughly and should present to the government a plan for the intensification of 100 thousand hectares, which must be done without fail , a plan detailed for each successive year and for all the material means required, which the Ministry will seek to include in the plan. The thing is that, besides the interested branches and sectors, the Central Committee and the government must think about how the orientations and directives which are issued and the targets which we set are going to be accomplished, with the a im of assisting the base and ensuring that these orientations and directives find concrete application.
Let us take for example the question of cement. It is used everywhere and is in demand not only within the country, but also for export. So, some of the cement produced is allocated for export, and this is right, because if we don't export we cannot buy, since there are no imports without first exporting. But here the problem arises that, if the quantity of cement which is exported were used in agriculture for drainage, canals, etc., the economic benefit would be very great. Hence the question:
What must be done to ensure that both the internal needs and the exports of cement are fulfilled ? Certainly we must consider increasing the capacity of the cement factory at Vlora , for example. In order to achieve this, that is, to increase the productive capacity of that factory, we need new kilns, etc., etc. I took the problem of cement only as an example, because we have possibilities to do similar things in many other sectors in order to respond in the proper way to the intensification of agriculture over the whole country.
Another fundamental problem which it seems to me is not being understood correctly is that we should not treat the zone of the coastal plains as a block, in a uniform way, from the standpoint of the material base needed, but should study it concretely, proceeding from the yields which have been achieved in each agricultural economy.
This will lead us to the correct conclusion that the material base which we have planned, or which is necessary for this zone, should not be shared out evenly over the whole zone, but in different proportions, giving more to those economies and sectors which are more backward in their yields and which have the necessary conditions to rise to the level of the yields which are projected for this zone, or which advanced economies, sectors, or brigades are already getting . . . .
Hence, from the whole zone of about 100 thousand hectares which we are intensifying with priority, in the distribution of the material base which we are increasing, for the 7th Five-year Plan we can leave out, say, 35-40 thousand hectares, because we have already achieved the intensification we are seeking with the means we have today in the area. We should use the additional means to accelerate the intensification of the rest, so that they reach the level of that area which is at a higher level of intensification at present. Of course there is no limit to intensification, but we must make our calculations in the way we are discussing, otherwise the results will not be satisfactory.
In the zone of priority intensification of about 100 thousand hectares there are certain measures which we must certainly take in all the economies, regardless of which has taken high yields and which has not. What are these measures? The installation of permanent drainage.
We must continue to do this except, perhaps, in the economies in which we have already done it and which have taken in high yields. But it must be done without fail in the other economies where it has not been done. We must decide this. The irrigation of land depends on our economic and material potential. If we have the possibilities to irrigate the entire intensified zone to a satisfactory level, it seems to me that this should be done.
In regard to the use of fertilizers, machines, tractors combines or other complex farming machines, in all these directions there must be differentiation.
Now we come more concretely, on a broad scale, to the slogan we have employed: «We must catch up with the advanced». In order to catch up with the advanced, first of all the consciousness of the cooperativists plays a major role, but the means, seeds, water, etc., also play an important role. Therefore, although the will for further development may exist in all those economies which have achieved high yields in a given area or cooperative, we must take measures to favour the other areas and cooperatives.
Where there is an economy which has achieved high yields we must allow it to go on getting yields of 70 quintals of maize per hectare for some time and be content that this economy, with the experience it has gained and the base which it has, consolidates its stability and gets just a little more.
In specific areas of the zone of priority intensification we have managed to get very good yields with the means which have been allocated. If we take, and we must take certain measures for the intensification of specific parts of this zone, the intensification of which is being done not in one year but in five years, and if the aid in materials is not provided evenly, but differentiated according to the requirements of specific parts of the zone, then we will have the result that one part of the zone will achieve the yields set at the end of the five-year period, another at the end of the fourth year or the third year of the five - year period, and in the end the whole zone will achieve the yields we set. Let us be quite clear about what I am saying. When defining the areas which are not intensified yet in the zone which we are going to intensify, this will be done in proportion with the possibilities which we provide. Within that zone different conditions prevail : some parts have a number of favourable conditions, some average conditions and other parts less favourable conditions. We will begin with those that have less favourable conditions, then we will come to those with average conditions and we will reach the highest level at the end of the five-year period. Thus the whole zone will be intensified to a higher level.
Hence this is not a job to be done by guess work, but on the basis of careful study. In order to accomplish it, the specialists of the base must be concretely involved in it, because their participation is decisive. It is essential that they must be listened to and their opinions be carefully discussed. Only in this way will we, the leadership of the Party, be sure what our possibilities are and, as the people say: «we must cut our coat according to our cloth».
We must be certain about how much «cloth» we have, because we are going through a difficult international situation, so we cannot proceed by making promises and then fail to fulfil them. The possibilities are great, but some people still have reservations. We must clearly understand the international situation and the great hostility with which Albania is threatened. We must be very rigorous, precise and revolutionary about the accomplishment of tasks, otherwise we cannot advance. Tomorrow the enemies might commit a provocation against us, therefore we must have reserves now. Hence, we must think about the times of danger.
All our work in agriculture, which is very complicated and wide-ranging, must be understood as a whole. When we take measures to add something, we must be truly conscious that the addition must be as much as necessary and we should not work it out on the average! If we set the targets in this way, the average will be much higher.
If the average remains what it is, there is no need to use supplementary forces and means, because we need to use them elsewhere. We are not living in plenty, you must bear this in mind. We make sacrifices in one direction in order to fulfil another need, which must be fulfilled, especially the needs of agriculture which is the basis of our economy.
Therefore, in the resolution that will be presented to the Political Bureau, this question must be set out concisely on the basis of studies, so that we know in time how many hectares of land will be intensified within this zone and how many are intensified already. These things must be clearly defined. Likewise, the amount of production that will be taken in a given number of hectares in the intensified zone as well as the yields which will be achieved from them in the third, fourth and fifth years of the fiveyear plan must be set out. That is to say, the resolution must make certain definitions, which will be kept in mind while carrying out this task, because the work to accomplish the objectives will be done on the basis of the decision. When the yields are set, this must be done not as average yields (2) for the whole Republic, but yields for the zones which will be intensified.
(2) In 1985 the average yields of wheat for the whole Republic was 30.6 quintals per hectare.
This is a special decision which we are taking for this zone . . .
I repeat once again that the problem of agriculture must be seen as a whole. The plans which are set must be fulfilled and overfulfilled, because there are many possibilities and reserves. We must be conscious that these reserves must be drawn on, irrespective of the decision which we shall take. What we are doing is an addition. These things must be done without depriving the hills and all the other zones which are not being intensified, but, on the contrary, by assisting and intensifying them, too.
The intensification has begun on a good serious course and now it must be continued. Therefore we must not content ourselves with those yields we get in wheat and hybrid maize, but still more work must be done in bread grain and other crops and, especially, in livestock raising. I want to emphasize that for the intensification of livestock raising it is essential to continue the work in forage crops and to secure them not only for this zone, but for the whole of Albania. We must accomplish the plan in livestock raising with the productivity we have set, and in order to achieve this the fodder base must be intensified without fail. If it is necessary to take measures to intensify the production of fodder base in some other districts where we have concentrated livestock raising, this must be done. In Lezha, for example, we have set targets for increased numbers of livestock, therefore we must think about the intensification of the fodder base for the livestock in that district. But where is that base to be secured? Is that which is secured in the plains or hills of Lezha sufficient? No, it is not. Then we must take measures.
This problem is not separated f r om the other problems of intensification. A part of the plains which are intensified should be allocated to forage crops, and the same must be done for vegetables, too. Vegetables are very important for man, and they lead to economy in the consumption of bread. We must guarantee the production of bread, must increase grain production, but should also save grain by eating more vegetables, fruit and animal products. If we are to consume more vegetables, we must produce ample quantities of them, and to do this we must take measures to secure more than 400 quintals of tomatoes per hectare.
To achieve this yield we must make investments. We have made investments for dairy cows, too. but some we have kept well and some we have allowed to degenerate. Seeds degenerate in a similar way because they have their own cycle. We must go over to the production of first – quality seeds, hybrid seeds, in the quantities and with the quality which we need for ourselves and export, for the internal market, for the production of preserved fruit and vegetables, etc. This, too, is intensification.
As a conclusion, basing ourselves on this five-year plan, to accomplish which efforts should be made, we must take measures for the intensification of the plains in a number of zones so that they, too, achieve the level of the most advanced zones and not only for such crops as maize, wheat, cotton and beans, which are mentioned in the study presented to us, but also for forage crops and vegetables. In connection with the means we have allocated for the intensification of vegetables, we must bear in mind that they require not only practice, but also more mechanized means, therefore in this complex of mechanisms, besides combines and tractors, we must include other light means which are used in planting, hoeing, harvesting and transporting vegetables.
Now we come to fruit. We agreed long ago that some small factories should be set up in a number of centres as close as possible to large-scale production of fruit and vegetables, because in this way we avoid unnecessary transport. Therefore this question should be restudied and concrete proposals be made quickly.
See how many problems there are in agriculture. Mehmet Shehu, who posed as the complete expert, thought it was roughly one big issue, but he was wrong. There are numerous problems and despite our desires we cannot solve them all immediately. Therefore, in our studies and decisions, we need firm order . . .
I think that we must understand agriculture and the needs of the people as interlinked. It is important that we create plenty and we must create more suitable conditions so as to achieve this in scientific ways, through the concentration and circulation of production according to science and the soil. The concentration and specialization of crops which will be widely extended in this zone bring changes in the development of the economy, and as the advanced experience of the Plasa agricultural cooperative has shown, they are also bringing changes in concepts.
The new concepts of large-scale socialist production are gradually taking the place of old concepts. In this way we also combat the old concepts of autarchy, in the sense that it is often demanded that all the crops should be produced within the one economy and, indeed, years ago this was more pronounced and reflected even in brigades.
The struggle which has been waged against the «mosaic» of crops within small areas must now be waged against manifestations of autarchy in larger areas.
Of course our economy and our socialist agriculture are run on the basis of the unified state plan. In order to sabotage the experience of Plasa, the enemies of the Party, Mehmet Shehu and company, went so far as to say:
«Either the structure of crops according to the plan, or Plasa with its own rotation of crops.» However, when he was about at the end of his tether and could see that the roots of his evil work were being exposed, Mehmet came to me and said, «We shall make the whole of Albania like Plasa»...
The problem of the wide extension of the experience of Plasa, of course, could not be solved with a stroke of the pen, but we have said at other times, too, that we have delayed in applying this experience. In order to apply it, a number of manoeuvres must be made in the planting of various crops. A particular crop may be removed from one economy and given to another economy according to the need for rotation. That is how we can manoeuvre between the two economies, especially when, in the zone for which we are speaking, we have territorial continuity. As the specialists tell us, in this case schemes of rotation can be drawn up covering two economies, irrespective of the fact that they may be different from the organizational aspect. There are greater possibilities to do this with certain crops which improve the soil, such as lucerne, etc., especially by increasing the humus and the content of nutritive elements.
I think these manoeuvres are partial and can be carried out within the objectives of the plan on a district scale and even more so on the scale of the whole country.
Each agricultural economy is required to engage in this work better. But the districts and the Ministry of Agriculture, in cooperation with the State Planning Commission, must play a special role.
I think that the implementation of scientific schemes of rotation of agricultural production and the struggle against autarchy should be conceived on a broader scale.
Let us take onions, for example. We say that we should produce as many onions as possible. «But why are we to produce so many onions?» asks the cooperativist. «I want bread.» «Very well,» he should be told, -onions which are grown, packaged, and preserved properly can be exported and used to buy another food-stuff. Or, if the conditions permit, lucerne should be planted on this land and with this you will get more meat, milk, hides, etc,.» What I am saying is that we should not consume everything we produce at home, but export some things and import those which we do not produce ourselves. Of course this must not place in jeopardy the production of bread and other main products within the country. But, if by exploiting the conditions better we may export meat, than we have something in our hands to import what we are short of. I
think that we will not have shortages if we proceed scientifically at such a rate and with such courage. We will produce the things we need within the country and also have some for export. Thus we will have in our hands a great economic force to manoeuvre abroad and to further develop industry, agriculture and other branches of the economy.
In regard to the advance of our agriculture on the road of socialism, another important measure has been the creation of the higher-type cooperatives. Now when we are in the phase of higher intensification, this must be studied so that we know where these cooperatives should be classified, are we to consider them intensified or not?
Will we continue to give them state aid as before, or will this aid be now given to other cooperatives, so that they, too, reach the level of the former? Already the higher-type cooperatives have achieved a good level of development, indeed some of them have achieved the level of state farms, others a little less, but others still have outstripped the state farms. In the higher-type cooperatives where the investments which the state has made up till now and the investments of the cooperatives themselves have served to raise the level required for the intensified zone, the state should no longer make investments at that level which it has done up till now. Therefore the funds that we have foreseen for investments should be divided in a differentiated way, according to needs. The funds which the state has provided for the higher-type cooperatives have been a support for them, the direct participation of the state in their development has given results. Now part of these funds will no longer be provided, but the state does not demand repayment of them. Since those funds have been well utilized and those cooperatives have achieved a high level of development and the well-being of the members has been raised, they must allocate for accumulation a percentage different from that of the other cooperatives and cover more investments with their own funds. The state can and must give more assistance to the other cooperatives.
Therefore, when the funds are shared out and the a id which the state will provide is allocated, it should be taken into account that, in regard to the raising of their level, the scale of the development and the yields they have achieved, the higher-type cooperatives are close to the yields and the incomes of state farms of the zones of intensification or which are considered as intensified. This must be understood correctly and profoundly, because the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat does not work only for the higher-type cooperatives, in order to enable them only to improve the living standard of the members. Our state also thinks about the other cooperatives. But the higher-type cooperatives must maintain the level achieved and raise it further, because they have all the possibilities.
The intensification with priority of the lowland zone must not upset the existing regime of agricultural cooperatives.
What do I mean by this? It is intended that the plain of Ndroq, for instance, should be intensified. So investments will be made there for this purpose. But the mountainous zone of this cooperative, too, will continue to be developed with the aid which the state has provided and will continue to provide. Hence we will proceed towards the intensification of production in this zone, too. The division of income per workday and the formation of various funds will be done on the basis of the rules which exist in the Constitution of Cooperatives. This is a problem of great importance in the field of the relations of production.
The problem of the production of agricultural machinery and equipment within the country was raised here, too. When speaking about intensification, it should be born in mind that this means that in maize, for example, we must get 60-70 quintals per hectare on an area from 10-20 thousand hectares, to which thousands more hectares will be added in the near future, when more maize will be needed to increase the number of livestock. Such huge areas of maize cannot be harvested with those means we use today. Likewise it is not possible for us to import from abroad all those machines to harvest the maize and the wheat, to pick fruit, etc., etc., which are needed.
Then what must we do? We must begin to build harvesting machines, etc., in the country. Apart from the motors (although this, too. should be examined, because there are a number of electrical engineering plants which could produce them), it is quite possible for us to do this. There are many other questions like this which are connected with agriculture and which have not been studied in their own time, so they must be studied now. I say this because better late than never and because in the coming years an even more favourable situation will be created in agriculture, although other problems will emerge, since we will need not only more harvesters, but also more tractors.
Apart from the autotractor combine in Tirana, which has very important tasks for agriculture, we must study the possibilities to take measures to strengthen the agricultural machinery plants. Besides the agricultural machinery plant in Durrës, perhaps the others should be strengthened, too. But how much thought has been given to this and to what extent the possibilities are being created for such a step? It seems to me that the idea raised here that a good part of the capacity of agricultural machinery plants in the districts is employed in producing spare parts and equipment for industry, is not correct. If this comes about simply because these plants are under the Ministry of Industry and Mines, then we should examine the question of whether they should be under the Ministry of Industry, or the Ministry of Agriculture.
In the context of intensification, with the increase of agricultural and livestock products everywhere in Albania, the shortage of transport will be a great problem. We continue to read in the papers about mass road transport parallel with the railway, about unnecessary shuttling of goods back and forth. Therefore the rational utilization of the means we have is a great reserve for agriculture, too.
Likewise it is necessary to produce more carts and trailers. However this work has been left to the workshop in Shijak or some local initiative, which cannot fulfil all the needs of the country for this kind of transport, therefore the production of it must be increased especially in those districts which have timber.
Apart from carts, motor transport is necessary, too.
and as you say, some trucks can be imported from abroad. But there is one thing which should be born in mind: we are struggling to save land and to avoid losing it.
In fact, however, a part of the land will be withdrawn from production because the products must be transported on this land where they are produced, hence roads will be needed and this requires land. Here we have to make careful calculations, that is, we must ensure that the quantity of products which are lost from the part of the land which is allocated for the building of roads is compensated for through the increase in yields. We agree to the opening of these roads, because the transport of agricultural products by truck is quicker and causes fewer losses.
I have another matter which is and which is not solved. I am referring to the contracts between interested ministries and the cooperatives. The organs of the Ministry of Internal Trade and those of the Ministry of the Light and Foodstuffs Industry do sign a kind of contract with the agricultural cooperatives, but not with a strict regime and penalties which are usually included in contracts between state enterprises. As a result, it it noticed that some agricultural products, especially vegetables, fruit, etc., are sometimes collected and sometimes not by the subsidiary organs of ministries. It seems to me that this matter must be looked at more carefully and should not continue as it is. Indeed, I think that the cooperatives should have a branch or sector engaged in the distribution and trading of the products, the signing of contracts, and the following up of the obligations which result from the implementation of contracts.
If there were such a sector or position in the management of the cooperative, it would be in a position to deal with the organs of the Ministry of the Internal Trade or the Ministry of the Light and Foodstuffs Industry and require them to sign contracts on the quantities of various agricultural and livestock products which they will take and these contracts should include severe mutual penalties. If the goods produced are not collected, the party in fault will pay the damage just as the cooperative must pay for the damage if the products are not delivered at the time and in the conditions stipulated in the contract.
It seems to me that such a thing does not exist at present. If the organs of trade require that the cooperative should deliver the goods at their depot, they must pay for the transport f r om the field to the depot when the means for this purpose, the carts, trailers, etc., belong to the cooperative.
All these things should be envisaged in the contract.
If they act in this way production will be encouraged, otherwise, when products are not collected and are damaged, the cooperative is liable to say that it is a waste of time to produce them.
Then, there i s another matter which must be examined:
the question of standards of the goods. It can and does happen that some of the products may not be up to the requirements for export or the standards for internal trade, because they may have been damaged. This does not mean that the goods referred to should be rejected, but measures should be taken to process them industrially, or they should be bought by the trade organs at a lower price, actually protecting the interests of the state, but not to the detriment of the peasant. A n d these goods can be sold at prices at which the people will buy them.
I pointed out some of these problems not because they should all be brought under the study which will be redone of the lowland zone of priority intensification.
We shall decide in the Political Bureau about the more fundamental problems which we took up this time. The government and the state and economic organs must decide and take concrete measures on the other questions in order to support this great program for the intensification of agriculture, as the 8th Congress of the Party decided.
«About the 7th Five-year Plan»