Chávez urges quick eviction of Irish tree farming firm

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has called on his government to speed up the removal of an Irish company from land it owns in an agricultural state in Venezuela.

Two years ago, Chávez ordered the seizure of 1,500 hectares (about 3,700 acres) of land from Smurfit Kappa Group, claiming the company’s eucalyptus tree farm was depleting the water supply from local rivers. He said Wednesday that the government must take control of all the seized land quickly.

Venezuela’s agriculture minister says the company still uses 12,000 hectares (about 29,650 acres) of property between the central plains states of Portuguesa and Lara.

During a broadcast on state television Wednesday, President Chávez did not say if he will seize all of Smurfit Kappa’s land holdings in his country.

In the past, Chávez has turned over seized properties to farmers to boost harvest.

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