Argentina will celebrate its bicentenary consuming Uruguayan beef forecasted the president of the powerful farmers’ association Argentine Rural Society, Hugo Biolcati. Production won’t be enough to cover Argentina’s demand next year, “either we bring per capita consumption down from 70 kilos to 50 kilos, or we import beef and it won’t be cheap”.
Biolcati said that according to a paper from his organization economic research department, problems will not be limited to beef, “wheat and soybeans, and dairy farmers will also suffer” given the drastic volume drops in crops caused by natural causes, drought, but mainly erred official policies.
“We use to be the break basket of the world, and current policies have managed that we are no longer, on the contrary we are en route to become net importers of beef and wheat”, said Biolcati.
However for 2011 and 2012 “we could revert this tendency but with the proper policies and stimulus” for the agriculture crops.
But “beef is a fact, is not a projection or nothing theoretical: what we are going to consume in 18 months time has already been born, and they are out theere in the paddocks, just go and count them”.
“What has been produced this season for consumption next year is only enough if we cut consumption to 50 kilos of beef per capita”.
In real numbers this means that Argentina’s cattle herd of 58 million in 2008 is down to 55 million this year and 52.5 million in 2010, with export surpluses falling from 25% in 2008 to zero in 2010.
From third world exporter of beef, Argentina has fallen to sixth, seventh place and lost over 30 markets.
Regarding wheat “there are no trading conditions to stimulate farmers to plant plus the drought which persists in several areas of Argentina”, warned Biolcati who recalled that the last crop was just sufficient for domestic consumption, no export surplus, and the next crop in December could be even smaller.
“Wheat planting intention is similar to that of a century ago, 1903/04. Wheat farmers are disillusioned”.
As to soy beans the international price is recovering for two reasons: it again has become an interesting investment globally, and the shortage caused by the extremely poor Argentine harvest which has boosted prices.
“This in spite of the fact that the area sowed has increased by 30%, said Biolcati.