One of the four rural organizations that for several years clashed with the Argentine government over export taxes considers the conflict “to be over” and said that President Cristina Fernandez “remains committed to helping the farming sector”.
“Nothing good came out from the conflict, neither for the Government nor the farmers”, said Carlos Garetto, president of Coninagro, after hosting a Monday mid day barbecue for President Cristina Fernandez at their headquarters with all 25 members of the organization’s board.
“We’ve exchanged ideas, projects and concerns. The meeting was very positive. We’ve had a very complicated relationship for the last four years,” he said after meeting for lunch with the President and Agriculture Minister Julián Domínguez.
“A new chapter has opened; obviously we have pending issues and there are others in which there is disagreements, but as long as we can dialogue, we will solve problems”, said Garetto
“This has been a dramatic change: we’re not in 2008 or sixty days ago, and we must take advantage of this space to overcome the past and differences relative to the rural sector”.
During the meeting, Garetto said they discussed the ban on wheat grain trade, the creation of more jobs in the farming sector, the Land Ownership Law and the current situation of producers around the country.
Garetto also revealed that the President “recalled the times of the Resolution 125, a conflict that helped neither the government nor us. We don’t want to go down the road of confrontation.”
When asked about a possible conflict with the other farming organizations that are a part of the Liaison Table, he stated that “the Table remains because despite its beginnings it now has a shared history and common concerns”.
“Our goal is articulating the state with the farming sector. The world is in need of food and exporting labour is dignifying, and that is the best way of distributing wealth,” he concluded.
President Cristina Fernandez said that during the meeting she insisted that all sectors should work together towards consolidating the dialogue in order to make a stronger nation.
Agriculture minister Dominguez who promoted the meeting, said that the rural cooperatives organization is a “strategic ally” of the government and underlined that the administration of President Cristina Fernandez has ‘an ongoing dialogue with rural sectors’.
“In these few last years Argentina has grown very much and will continue to do so and for that we need of a virtuous and intelligent articulation of all the actors from the productive sector”, said Dominguez on leaving the meeting.
This was the first time that the president visited the Inter-Cooperative Agricultural Confederation (Coninagro). The organization founded in 1958 brings together ten federations that number 120.000 agriculture cooperatives which represent 20.5% of all cereals and oil seeds harvested in Argentina.
Coninagro together with the Argentine Rural Society, Argentina Agrarian Federation and the Argentine Rural Confederation in 2008 joined under the umbrella of the Liaison Table to combat the President Cristina Fernandez administration 35% tax on cereals and oil seeds exports, better known as Resolution 125.
The Liaison table organized months-long stoppages preventing exports and on occasion even supplies to the main cities. Finally there was a decisive vote in Congress which rejected the resolution, one of the worst political moments of the Kirchner couple, so much that at the time many analysts considered their cycle over.
But Mrs. Kirchner accepted the congressional vote which was the anticipation of a major defeat in the mid term election of 2009 when the government lost its majority in the Legislative.
However she stubbornly kept to her export taxing ideas and further introduced export quotas to protect domestic prices. The confrontation finally came to a stale mate and from both sides surfaced voices trying to bridge the situation.
After several failed attempts and with less than a week to Sunday October 23 presidential election, Cristina Fernandez reaffirms a conciliatory and dialogue attitude towards all sectors, including farmers.
Following on President Cristina Fernandez landslide support in the August 14 primaries, a political milestone not even the most recalcitrant farmers could refuse to admit, plus the forecasts of public opinion polls it’s hard to refuse having a picture taken next to her.