In October 2010, in a meeting with the Governor of the Argentine Province of Chaco, Jorge Capitanich, and Saudi Sheik Mohammed Al-Khorayef put forward a proposal for 40,000 hectares to be used for a large-scale project to produce food for export to Saudi Arabia as part of King Abdullah Initiative for National Food Security. On February 22nd, 2011, representatives of Al-Khorayef Group signed an agreement with the Chaco government for a $400-million agricultural project in which the company would be allocated rights over 200,000 ha of farmland in the El Impenetrable region of the province to produce crops for the Saudi market. The project also includes major infrastructure to develop the Bermejo river channel to irrigate the crops (overseen by AISCO). Although Al-Khorayef and the government claim the land to be unoccupied, it is used by indigenous peoples for grazing and food collection. The pro Al-Khorayef lobby is represented in Argentina by Siasa latinoamericana (SIASA), which is run by Daniel Tardito, CEO of Eduardo Eurnekian, one of the biggest landowners in the Chaco, with close connections to the current and former governors of the Province. The project would begin with 30,000 hectares to be further expanded, as profits are to be reinvested in increased infrastructure and irrigation to support the project.
While the hot, ecologically fragile, insect-infested thorn-desert that is the Chaco is officially government land, many indigenous groups who roamed across the Chaco but had no land title. Forests and wilderness in the region has fallen even faster in the past 30 years than in Paraguay, impacting aboriginal groups including the Toba, Wichi, Cuom and Mocovi, as ranchers have cut down their trees and destroyed the hunting grounds they depended on.