The wheat crops of 1893-1894 first inspired the predictions that Argentina would become a major contributor to world grain markets and, in particular, an important supplier of Britain. The grain trade was primarily in German hands, while even the French had more than twice the British share. Transport was the only branch of the grain trade within the republic in which British enterprise was substantially involved. The importance of the British market for cereals and the centralization of commercial organization in this country made Britain the focus of the international grain trade by the end of the nineteenth century. The original function of the storekeepers in the Argentine cereals provinces was broadly similar to that of their equivalents in agricultural activity in any area of settlement. As Argentine cereal production became externally oriented, however, storekeepers were increasingly adopted by the export companies as buyers.