Venezuela takes over tree farm of Irish company

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has taken over a eucalyptus tree farm run by Ireland’s Smurfit Kappa, his latest move on foreign companies as he tightens his grip on the farm and food sectors. Smurfit Kappa Group Plc is a major cardboard packaging company.

Chavez said late on Thursday that the government had intervened in the 3,700 acre (1,500 hectare) El Pinal farm because the water-hungry eucalyptus trees were drying out local rivers. He said the government would replant the farm.

“We have intervened in Smurfit,” Chavez said. “We are going to use this wood in a rational manner and then we will change the vocation of the land; we are going to plant other things that are not eucalyptus,” Chavez said during a televised address.

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