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January 7, 2021

Farmers in Argentina to Strike in Protest of Export Restrictions

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Farmers in Argentina have announced a 72-hour commercial strike as a result of the government's action to temporarily suspend corn export registrations until the end of February. The strike will start on Monday, January 11 at midnight and end on Wednesday, January 13.

The Minster of Public Works, Gabriel Katopodis, stated that the government needed to take this action to insure that there would be ample supplies of corn for the livestock sector in order to produce poultry, pork, eggs, milk, and beef. The Minister indicated that the government will not alter its temporary suspension and that the farming community needs to think about the good of other sectors of the society.

Farmers contend that the export suspension will drive down domestic corn prices at a time when international prices are on the increase. They feel that the government's market interference is a disincentive for farmers to produce grain and that any temporary benefit for the livestock sector will result in long term damage to production agriculture.

There is a long history in Argentina of government interference in the commodity markets including the suspension of exports and the introduction of taxes on commodity exports. Previous market interference in the corn export market had a negative impact on corn production in Argentina. That interference ended five years ago when President Macri assumed power and as a result, corn production in Argentina increased.

The Argentine Association of No-Till Producers (Aapresid) stated that during the last five years when export restrictions were eliminated, the corn production in Argentina increased 72% from 28.8 million tons to 49.6 million tons. During the same period, soybean production remained basically unchanged at 50 to 51 million tons.