The failed government of Chavez which has reached a pathological degree of chronic lies keeps attacking the Polar group. This one replies in an official communique which uses some of the points that I had mentioned earlier, obvious points for anyone in the field in Venezuela. Thus I thought that it would be worth translating it so people do understand better the unfounded attacks against the Polar Group, Alimentos Polar. I have included in brackets or notes some comments for readers to understand better. You can read the original here in Spanish.
Alimentos Polar rejects allegations and reaffirms that it will continue producing at maximum capacity and quality as always for all Venezuelans
24-05-2010 - In Alimentos Polar categorically reject the unfounded allegations of hoarding and speculation, because we have never acted that way during our 50 years of history and never will, as our reason for being is to produce quality food to satisfy customers and consumers. [Many of the products manufactured by Polar are perishables so even if they wanted to practice hoarding to manipulate prices it would be difficult. Besides the production and consumption levels would require gigantic warehouses that cannot be concealed]
These accusations have caused great surprise among the thousands of people belonging to Alimentos Polar, knowing, as the officials responsible for this matter know, that it is impossible to hoard, because each kilo of every product we make is monitored strictly by state agencies, throughout the entire process of production and distribution.
The National Government does a complete product tracking from the moment it leaves our factories until it arrives at each point of sale throughout the country.
Each kilo that Alimentos Polar produces in each of their plants located throughout the country is certified daily, which are running at full capacity. Every day the National Government knows exactly where the products are released, since it issues the authorization for each truck to make the deliveries Alimentos Polar has scheduled for that date. For this it uses the SICA (Integral System for Agrifood Control) and the reports to the SADA (Superintendency of Silos and Farm Stores). This means that in Venezuela not a kilo of food moves that is not already registered in the system, without the government's agreement. So it is impossible for companies that produce these products to hoard food.
In the particular case of Alimentos Polar, there is a commitment that goes beyond these regulations, because the vocation is to produce as much high quality food and make them available to all Venezuelans. We have never been involved in cases of hoarding or speculation, and never will be. Everything Alimentos Polar has built over five decades has been done with its long-term commitment and reinvestment in the country, where year after year we have been rewarded with consumer preference, who rewarded us with their trust, affection and respect.
We are committed to continue working and investing in Venezuela. For that reason, our investment plan for the area of food production, for this running year, reaches the figure of 405 million bolivar fuerte. [94 million US dollars at 4.3 exchange rate, the double if we take the "official" one of 2.6]
On Thursday 20 May, the national government seized 114 tons of food that were stored in the branch of Alimentos Polar in Barquisimeto, waiting to be distributed in Lara state. This was an arbitrary and unjustified measure. In fact, Alimentos Polar distributes monthly 100,000 tons in the country, therefore, the confiscated the volume equals only 0.1% of the total. This indicator shows the absurdity of the charge of hoarding. [my emphasis]
This type of measure is most damaging to the Venezuelan consumer, because every ton that the government confiscates, affects the normal process of food distribution to households in Venezuela.
Amid this confused situation, it is essential to mention that the National Government has become the largest producer of food in the country. This one controls almost half of the production of precooked corn flour, almost all coffee production and a significant volume of production of sugar, margarine, seafood, wheat flour, rice, juice, yogurt, milk and meat , among others. It would be fair for the benefit of Venezuelan consumers, that regulators implement on these public companies the same checks and inspections that are conducted in private industry.
In addition, Alimentos Polar is the only company which periodically publishes an Activity Report which records its output for each item, inventory days at branches, number of shipments and number of trucks supplied, among other indicators. This report is published on the website Empresas Polar (www.empresas-polar.com) since August 2008.
The company holds open the doors of all branches and plants for the authorities to conduct the necessary inspections. Proof of this is that in the past three years, we have counted more than 600 inspections, much higher than that of any other company in the food sector in the country.
Every time that Alimentos Polar is accused of hoarding or speculating on food or Polar, it is a meaningless accusation. No one can hoard who produces at maximum capacity and distributes food daily to millions of homes in Venezuela and, additionally, who is constantly monitored and controlled by the national government. No one can speculate who has controlled prices for many of their products and presentations, with prices printed on the package label, and which in addition does not sell directly to consumers. [Polar does not have any food store or direct point of sale that I have ever seen or known off. All of Polar foods are sold through grocery stores.]
When the citizen President of the Republic echoes these accusations, we must assume that he has been misinformed about the reality of our business.
We worked in coordination with the National Superintendency of Silos, Storage and Agriculture warehouses (SADA), with whom we maintain a close relationship through weekly meetings and constant delivery of written communications. In this sense, we are available to talk. We have always gone wherever we've been invited by the Government, because we are part of the solution.
Venezuelan consumers want quality and variety in the products they buy. Alimentos Polar strives every day to produce food of excellent quality, in the categories where it participates. The company maintains its commitment to all Venezuelans, who have given it convincing demonstration of their confidence and loyalty from the birth of Harina P.A.N. in 1960. [It is difficult to find in the history of commerce a product which has transformed a country the way Harina P.A.N. has transformed Venezuela alimentary habits. If processed cor flour had not been invented, arepas would be today a delicacy offered on rare occasions instead of the daily sustenance of millions of Venezuelan, only too often the only thing they can afford. And it is not a monopoly since Polar writes earlier that the government produces now nearly half of the corn flour of Venezuela]
Alimentos Polar is committed to the country, its workers, suppliers, customers and consumers. This commitment is above any other. And thus we will continue our efforts and we will keep working in Venezuela and for Venezuela.
As a company, like any citizen, we have rights and obligations. Alimentos Polar fully complies with all its obligations and, to that extent, demands respect for its rights to economic freedom, property, work, defense and due process as established in the Constitution.
We are proud of our honest working men and women committed to the country, who do their work with responsibility, effort, passion and joy, to continue providing quality products to all Venezuelans, as we have done for 50 years of productive work. (2)
Caracas, May 25, 2010
1) the "support of all of its employees" is no iddle chat. Last night we saw on TV the leader of a "bolivarian trade union" which was defending Alimentos Polar. Sure, there are a few employees of Polar who probably look forward a chavista take over, something normal in a 30K + people organization. The fact of the matter is that I am willing to bet anything that a referendum of the Polar employees would give at the very least an 90% support to the management in this particular case. That the government has not tried to use the "employee card" as it was used in previous take overs of other companies speaks volumes on this respect.
2) the commitment of Polar goes much further as it participates in countless causes and cultural activities.