December 31, 2020


Argentina to suspend corn exports till Feb 28


Argentina will suspend sales of corn for export until February 28, the agriculture ministry said on December 30, announcing the surprise move as part of the government's effort to ensure ample domestic food supplies, Reuters reported.

Buyers can still place orders, but only for a shipping date March 1 or later.

Argentina is the world's number three corn supplier.

"This decision is based on the need to ensure the supply of grain for the sectors that use it as a raw material for the production of animal protein such as pork, chicken, eggs, milk and cattle, where corn represents a significant component of production costs," the statement said.

Argentina's government is struggling to control food price inflation and help low-income families cope with the declining economy.

"To date, 34.23 million tonnes of corn from the 2019/20 season has been authorized for export, out of a exportable total of 38.50 million tonnes," the statement said.

"The objective of the measure is that the remaining 4.27 million tonnes remain available for domestic consumption, in order to ensure the supply during the summer months when the supply of cereal tends to be scarce," it added.

Farmers and other stakeholders in Argentina's corn chain however oppose this type of market intervention.

"We are absolutely surprised. It does not make sense. There was never a lack of corn in Argentina," said Alberto Morelli, head of Argentina's MAIZAR corn industry chamber.

Santiago del Solar, a farmer in the grain province of Buenos Aires, called the export suspension a "senseless" move that would damage business confidence.

"Less confidence leads to less production. We have enough corn to supply the domestic chain. This will irritate farmers," del Solar said. "Is wheat next?"

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