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    Algerian farmers have met in the capital to assess the progress of the country's agrarian revolution.

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    Algerian farmers have met in the capital to assess the progress of the country's agrarian revolution. The second congress of the National Union of Algerian Farmers was opened on Monday (24 April) by President Boumedienne.

    SYNOPSIS: The farmers' union met in Algiers' Palace of the Nations. The government has declared its intention of raising the standard of living of farmers and agricultural workers to that of people living in the cities. The progress of this plan, and of the programme to increase agricultural efficiency, was under discussion at the farmers' union meeting. The foundation of the union in November 1974 marked anew stage in the politicisation of Algerian farmers. It is one of a number of meetings leading up to an important national party congress next year.

    In his speech opening the farmers' union conference, President Boumedienne criticised the shortcomings of Algerian agriculture .He urged farmers to face up to their personal and collective responsibilities, and to look to the country's political philosophy for an answer to agrarian problems. He said that many of the difficulties of farming had not yet been resolved, and further extension of the socialist ideal was necessary to combat the problems which had been left over from the colonial era. He told the farmers several times that socialism was not opposed to private property. President Boumedienne said almost all Algeria's farmland was in private hands. The government was determined to help all farmers and agricultural workers, regardless of whether they belonged to agrarian collectives or private farms. But he criticised private merchants, who, he said, were big fish who swallowed the little fish. These, and certain bureaucrats, he said, worked against the agricultural revolution and were enemies of the country.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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