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September 6, 2011

Argentine President Unveils Plan for Increased Ag Production

The president of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, recently unveiled a national agricultural and livestock plan designed to increase grain production to 150 million tons per year by 2020 with an additional goal of exporting one million tons of meat during the next decade.

The plan will concentrate on 24 agricultural products and the specific regions where these products are produced. The agricultural sector is the most important part of the Argentine economy accounting for approximately 60% of the Gross National Product of the country. Argentina is among the leading exporters of soybeans, soybean meal, soybean oil, corn, wheat, sunflowers, sorghum, grapes, wine, and honey.

The plan has been more than a year in development with input from: 45 national universities, state and local governments, 400 ag-tech schools, and numerous rural organizations. The plan was originally scheduled to be unveiled last July.

Farmers and commodity groups in Argentina have been at odds with the Kirchner administration (both the current president and her late husband) since the government placed export taxes on agricultural products and started interfering with agricultural exports. Today, farmers must pay an export tax of 35% on soybeans and 30% on corn exported from the country. They feel the best way to stimulate agricultural production would be to remove these taxes and let farmers benefit from strong international prices for commodities.