Wednesday, July 27th 2011 - 03:48 UTC

Argentine farmers furious with government’s wheat export policy

Argentina liberated 450.000 tons of wheat for export, a decision which is believed to be closely linked to Sunday’s election in the farming province of Santa Fe where the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner suffered a major defeat.

Biolcati said that 450.000 tons is peanuts and mean nothing for the farmers’ sector

Hugo Biolcati, president of the powerful Argentine Rural Society warned that the extra volume was “peanuts and means nothing for farmers” and as Santa Fe proved “farmers will not vote again for President Cristina Kirchner”.

Economy and Agriculture ministers Amado Boudou and Julián Domínguez on Tuesday made the official announcement to raise the limit on wheat grain exports to 450,000 tons. Of the 450,000 tons, 150,000 will come from the Entre Ríos province and the other 300,000 will be split among the Santa Fe and Buenos Aires provinces.

“After some deep technical analyses on the evolution of wheat production, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner decided to increase the export limit to 450,000 tons” Boudou said in a press conference at the Ministry’s offices.

The measure, he explained, comes after Dominguez’s “successful trip to China” in which he look to expand the markets while making sure that the local population’s consumption levels remain unchanged.

“By taking into account the Agriculture Ministry’s report, which describes in detail the amount of wheat grains export levels, we’ve been able to move forward towards this decision, which will benefit producers in the Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Entre Ríos provinces,” Boudou explained.

“These decisions are not taken lightly. It is this government’s priority to make sure that all Argentines continue to have access to their most basic needs,” the minister assured.

Domínguez predicted that wheat grain production would reach 16 million tons, with 8.8 million being exported. Both ministers insisted that these 450,000 tons are part of an export balance, for which this increase “should have no impact on local prices.

But Hugo Biolcati warned that the Government’s decision to expand the limit on wheat grain exports was peanuts and “don’t mean anything” because they don’t really an effect on the farming sector.

Biolcati also said after last Sunday’s elections in the Santa Fe province “proved false the notion that the farming sector would once again vote for Cristina Fernández de Kirchner”.

The head of the Rural Society also poked fun of Buenos Aires province governor Daniel Scioli who following Sunday’s Santa Fe results urgently called for the liberation of wheat exports.

“After such a result, and knowing how necessary it is for Scioli to count with support from the farming sector if he expects to be re-elected, he’s now looking to be nice and do something he never did before. He thinks his announcements are newspaper headlines, but it’s actually an insult to us,” he assured.

For Biolcati, when the Buenos Aires governor announces that he’s going to ask for an additional 300,000 tons in wheat grain exports when that doesn’t even represent 8% of what farm producers aren’t allowed to sell, it is an insult” the farming leader explained.

“He knows what he should be demanding for is a new trade system. He could step up and demand for the normalization of wheat grain exports for the people of his (Buenos Aires) province,” he said.

“He is not doing it and he will never do it, because he’s complaisant and he will always be,” Biolcati blasted.

 

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