Russia is interested in purchasing 3 million tons of Argentine animal feed corn to supply its domestic market following the catastrophic drought and fires suffered by the country during summer months in the northern hemisphere.
The request was made official to Argentina’s International Trade and Economic Relations Secretary Luis Maria Kreckler currently in Moscow as head of a trade and investment delegation. This would be Russia’s major purchase of Argentine corn since the eighties.
The Argentine delegation is in Russia promoting the sale of food industry goods with added value and a high technology component as part of the country’s policy to diversify markets.
Argentina and the former Soviet Union were close trade partners during the Cold War, particularly the last military Junta that in 1980 helped break the grains embargo imposed by the Jimmy Carter administration on the USSR.
Kreckler said that the first shipment of corn totalling 300.000 tons should be leaving Argentina next January and a second shipment should be ready for March.
“Russian operators are involved in negotiations with Argentine companies so as to complete the full needs of the market”, said Kreckler.
The Argentine Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and the Animal and the Plant & Health Office, Senasa are updating the records on free exports of transgenic grains to Russia and inviting the largest number of exporters to join the corn operation.
The Argentine delegation met with the Deputy Foreign Affairs minister Serguey Ryabkov and the president of the Russian-Argentina joint committee Serguey Dankvert, among other officials form the Agriculture and Economic Development ministries.
Argentine delegates said Buenos Aires the country is very much interested in diversifying markets and attracting Russian investment.
Argentina is interested in Russia’s participation in the construction of thermo-electric plants in the north of the country involving over a billion US dollars investment.
The negotiations are seen as the result of the strategic association consolidated during President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner visit to Russia in 2008 and President Dimitri Medvedev reciprocating trip to Argentina last year.
Kreckler also reiterated Argentina’s support for Russia’s incorporation to the World Trade organization.
“We’re most satisfied that a strategic associate of Argentina as Russia will finally become a full member and participate in WTO debates”, said Kreckler.
The Argentine Agriculture ministry estimate for the current corn harvest is a record 26 million tons covering four million hectares. The US Department of Agriculture estimate is 25 million tons.
Regarding wheat the estimate for the current 2010/11 crop is 12.5 million tons, half a million more than in October. USDA latest estimate was 13.5 million tons while the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange, 12.7 million tons. Climate conditions have been very good both for corn and wheat so far.
Meanwhile the Rosario Stock exchange announced that the 2010/2011 soy bean crop in Argentina will reach 49.5 million tons, this is because of a major participation of soy in the two crops. Apparently 30% of the 18.7 million hectares to be planted have been completed, which should be a new record.
The Argentine government has estimated the current 2010/11 soy crop in 52 million tons and 18.7 million hectares, just below the 52.7 million tons and 18.65 million hectares of the 2009/10 harvest.