Despite all the wartime efforts of the British government, British companies still played only a minor role in handling Argentina's exports in the 1920s, even in the trade to Britain. In the grain trade, reform needed to have as its central feature the object of strengthening the farmers' position in the initial stage of cereals marketing. The crucial requirement in strengthening farming was to release farmers from their onerous credit relations with the local storekeepers, whose dominance in the trade grew in the postwar years. With freedom of action in the cereals trade, the diffusion of commercial information would become meaningful, enabling the farmers to market their crops on the basis of informed negotiation. In directly competitive trade, United States businessmen realized that British ownership of public utilities in Argentina was a strategic element in the United Kingdom's position.