May 19, 2021
Argentina farm groups halt trading to protest 30-day ban on beef exports
Argentine farm groups will stop livestock trading to protest the government's 30-day ban on beef exports, which was imposed to curb rising domestic prices, Reuters reported.
The government's emergency measure is aimed at slowing the country's high inflation, pitting them against the country's powerful agriculture industry that drives exports.
Argentina's four main rural associations said in a joint statement that will stop livestock trading for nine days beginning May 20 in protest. Jorge Chemes, president of the Argentine Rural Confederations (CRA), one of the four farm associations, said this is the beginning of a raft of measures
The tension between the government and the farm groups also reflects worldwide concerns about surging food prices that have seen other countries impose control exports too, such as Russia which has announced a tax on wheat exports.
Argentina's farm industry, dominated by soy and wheat, had clashed with the government in the past over tax increases and export caps.
Omar Perotti, the governor of Santa Fe and part of the ruling coalition, said that the ban on exports may harm the industry, and instead suggests increasing production to maintain the possibility of exports. Santa Fe is an important farming province.
Argentina is the fifth biggest exporter of beef with increased sales to markets such as China, which as bolstered Argentine ranchers but fuelled inflation fears especially with the country's poverty levels soaring due to a long recession.
Argentina exported about 897,500 tonnes of beef last year valued at US$2.7 billion, according to official data, with China accounting for half of the exports. March exports to China was 8.3% higher year-on-year to US$225.8 billion, based on data from the Institute for the Promotion of Argentine Beef.
Argentina President Alberto Fernandez criticised surging beef prices and blamed exporters who can charge higher by exporting.
Major Brazilian meatpackers Marfrig and Minerva saw their shares drop on May 18 after their operations were affected by the ban.