Argentina is only shipping soybeans from Paraguay in an attempt to honor overseas contracts since no local supplies are arriving to export ports because of the 100-day farmers' stand off with the administration of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
The dispute has also caused shortages of food and fuel all over the country and has triggered the most serious political conflict since the Kirchners came to power in 2003. "We're only exporting soy that arrives on barges from Paraguay and not from Argentine farms as is normal at this time of the year", revealed Patricia Bergero, head of the Economic Studies Center from the Chamber of Commerce of Rosario. Rosario on the Parana River is the world's main soy hub. The Rosario Chamber of Commerce has been paralyzed since there are virtually no grain export activities. In the last five days no trucks arrived to the port of Rosario when a year ago at this time the area was flooded with 4.500 trucks, which is making the situation even more complicated for exporters. "Argentina has been unable to honor soy flour contracts with the European Union and soy oil and beans with China and other Asian countries", said Bergero, who estimates further huge losses for the industry in the coming months. China and India are among Argentina's main markets for soy. It is precisely this booming trade and soaring international prices which have triggered the current farmers' conflict when the Kirchner administration imposed last March a sliding export levies system which has been described as "confiscatory". Bergero said that on Thursday over 20 ships were waiting along the Parana River to load grains in San Lorenzo and Rosario, from where over 80% of Argentina's grain, flour, beans and oil are exported. A report from the Rosario Chamber of Rosario says that since the conflict began the port has received 5.1 million less tons of grains, well below expectations for this season. Farmers are scheduled to lift the ban on grains exports on Friday 24:00 hours. An estimated 300 road blocks have been impeding the free circulation of grains and oilseeds in Argentina's main farming provinces since the dispute began. Farmers and grain truckers have been manning the road blocks.