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Wheat shortage in Argentina has seen bread prices skyrocket; Buenos Aires ton price is double Chicago's

Wednesday, October 23rd 2013 - 20:51 UTC
Full article 56 comments

In the last few days the Argentine news media has been focusing on the fact that there does not seem to be enough wheat or corn to go around, which is driving prices higher and causing concern for the users of these grains. This is particularly true for bakeries which have been forced to charge soaring prices for bread. Read full article

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  • Troy Tempest

    So, the wheat shortage is only temporary and there is no corn shortage, prices are higher perhaps because exporters are shipping out too much?

    Hopefully prices are only temporarily higher, then.

    Oct 23rd, 2013 - 09:05 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Brasileiro

    “Schlechte Nachrichten für Brasilien.”

    Bad news to Brasil.

    “Malas noticias para Brasil.”

    Notícias ruins para nós (PT)

    Oct 23rd, 2013 - 09:14 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • yankeeboy

    Didn't someone say The Rgs would be eating barley bread soon?
    Yes I seem to remember that.
    Hmm who was it?

    We have plenty of wheat if you can find the U$ to buy it.

    Oct 23rd, 2013 - 09:45 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • CaptainSilver

    Let them eat cake....

    Oct 23rd, 2013 - 10:04 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ElaineB

    The bread basket of the world and the people living there cannot afford bread? You have to hand it to CFK, she has excelled herself with this one. They should have operated on her brain sooner.

    She is back in hospital for more tests.

    Oct 23rd, 2013 - 11:04 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Casper

    @4 & 5

    I wonder if Argentina's own Marie Antoinette can hear the blades of the guillotine being busily sharpened.

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 04:52 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Ayayay

    Zimbabwe was the bread basket of its continent.

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 05:06 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • toxictaxitrader2

    This is what happens when Government figures not trusted,nobody can be sure what the true position is,so the precautionary principle kicks in,human nature being what it is=higher prices.
    Establishment of a non political statistics bureau is the first step on the road to recovery.

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 07:57 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Mendoza Canadian

    Socialism: people wait for bread.
    Capitalism: bread waits for people. (to come and get it)

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 11:27 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • GeoffWard2

    But does the price of bread in Chicago control the price of food-aid to starving third world countries?
    - I doubt it.

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 11:37 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Optimus_Princeps

    It's not just bread, a lot of commodities are going up in price uncontrollably. Produce used to be the cheapest way to get sustenance. Certain vegetables such as the tomato and avocado have become hideously expensive.

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 11:59 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • CaptainSilver

    Oi Think, update your food and commodity price lists. Lets see whats happening..

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 01:36 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • yankeeboy

    I've mentioned this before...

    Soy takes more out of the soil than farmers can afford to put back by way of fertilizers. Only 37 percent is restored, meaning that 63 percent of each season's loss remains lost, according to government data.

    “The process of land degradation is a fact,” said a government source with direct knowledge ofthe problem but who asked not to be identified.

    “It is happening slowly in areas of the country with the best soils and faster in areas with lower soil quality. But it is happening,” the source said. “Over the long term, the country is losing yield potential. That's the biggest danger.”

    Corn seeds and fertilizers are about twice as expensive in Argentina as those used in soy farming, another factor pushing growers to plant soy on top of soy.

    “The soil is getting burned by the lack of organic material left behind by each corn crop,” the government source said.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/lack-of-crop-rotation-in-argentina-2013-10

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 02:28 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • redp0ll

    @13 Thanks for the link. Couldnt agree more. Thanks heavens crop rotationsherein Uruguay are mandatory
    The wheat harvest prospects look bad in the region apart from my country
    The main producing states in Brazil, Parana and Rio Grande do Sul have been hit by some bad storms as has Paraguay. The harvest in NE Argentina is likely to be poor due to drought. Wheat in any significant volume will not come on the market till mid December

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 02:56 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Conqueror

    @8 Well, THAT's not going to happen, is it? Even the threat of expulsion from the IMF and related bodies hasn't persuaded argieland to tell the truth. Still, when you are totally self-sufficient, I don't suppose it matters. All those LNG imports to argieland by BP must be figments. Or should that be FIGments? Anyway, 40 cargoes. Isn't that quite a lot to be buying from a part-imperialist, colonialist, capitalist company like BP? Especially when you don't need it because you're self-sufficient in everything!
    @10 Something to look out for when argieland starts “demanding” food aid.

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 03:11 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • yankeeboy

    14. Argentinians live only for the moment, They don't plan and they ignore anything bad. It is a strange way to live if you grew up in a civilized society.

    When I lived there they said oil/gas will run out in 10 years.
    Now its 10 years later and o/g has run out.
    What did they do to fix this impending disaster, pump more oil from existing well and incentivize people/business to consume more fuel with subsidies.
    They do exactly the opposite of what a sane person would do. Then they wonder why it all goes to he**.
    Grains are the only thing they have, they don't innovate, the next new drug, computer, cell phone etc is NOT coming from Argentina.
    They will ignore the soil depletion until most farmers go out of business.
    Just like Zimbabwe
    Argentina is the Zimbabwe of South America
    It is sad but true

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 03:20 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • GeoffWard2

    'Argentina is the Zimbabwe of South America'

    Yup, so sad ... and so avoidable.

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 04:00 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • St.John

    This is horrible for the average Argentino (and even more so for the poor) who depend a lot on bread for all meals.

    Price of pan francés:
    24 May 2012: 9.60 pesos per kg
    24 October 2013: 18.75 pesos per kg

    17 months: +95%

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 05:07 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    Bread basket to basket case, does take some doing.

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 06:31 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    But the majority VOTED for it so stuff them!

    I feel sorry for Simon68 and his family and all the other decent Argentines (like my next door neighbour) who are on a roller coaster to hell (if there is a hell). ;o)

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 08:41 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • CabezaDura

    Argentina would be Zimbabwe if they confiscate our land and give it to their cronies and thugs to handle it. What would be called a land reform. The Kirchnerist are much more cleaver then Mugabe, at lest they are not stupid enough to kill the chicken that lays the golden egg. Argentina is not going to become that, the problem here is political not agricultural or economical…
    PS: On the positive side I mastered the art of making my homemade bread…. Much cheaper if you make your own with bags of 5kg flour ;-)

    Oct 24th, 2013 - 10:32 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • yankeeboy

    21. If the Ks stay in power the confiscation of farm land will start with foreigners. That is why they started gathering the ownership data about a decade ago.
    Watch Venezuela it is the exact same playbook Chavez used to ruin his country.

    Oct 25th, 2013 - 02:24 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • brasherboot

    Fantastic.

    Argentina has cornered the market in attracting people with wheat allergies.

    It's a major business opportunity.

    Oct 25th, 2013 - 02:38 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • CabezaDura

    22) The foreigners practically don’t really have land in the most productive heartlands, there is a couple of very rich Italian, British or Americas that have bought land in Patagonia or elsewhere, lovely estancias, they are valuable as real estate assets, but not productive for most part… I doubt they will expropriate that and give it away to their folks.
    They (the Ks) and their partners have stolen massive chunks of land from public lands and parks in Santa Cruz at 7,5 AR$ per ha. I don’t think they will like the mob to start looking over their fence

    The argentine agricultural deal is very near communism, though the capital and the land is privately held it’s the State that by de facto ends up deciding what to produce, to whom and what price, in addition of course they are the partners in the benefits but not of the losses of the farmers. I cant think of any other sector of the Argentine economy that is so fiddled with, yet despite this it has remained the only competitive one on world stage

    Oct 25th, 2013 - 02:48 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • St.John

    @ 20 ChrisR

    “But the majority VOTED for it so stuff them!”

    It is not that simple.

    La presidenta Cristina received 54% of the VOTES, but only app 70% voted, so the proportion of voters, who voted for her was only 54% * 0.7 = 37.8%

    A main problem is that the opposition is split and without a trustworthy candidate.

    Oct 25th, 2013 - 03:55 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    25 St.John

    You are absolutely correct, I was the first to point that out after the elections.

    I should have put “of those who voted” in my post, thank you.

    Oct 25th, 2013 - 11:58 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • St.John

    We endeavour to be of service :-)

    Oct 25th, 2013 - 12:08 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    @24 CabezaDura
    Makes you think what the agricultural sector could be doing for the country, if it were properly managed.

    Oct 25th, 2013 - 01:24 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • CabezaDura

    Its very sad and frustrating, shortly after the 2001 crisis there was a opportunity for small scale, and intensive alternative productions even outside the Pampas, now that tendency is all gone the government policies have made the only profitable business to do mono crop soy bean at 500km radius from the ports. This is why I doubt the government will expropriate the land, when it already has the best deal as far as it is concerned; it bases the economy on the sector, it doesn’t take any of the losses. They really don’t care if the little guy goes bust and Grobocopatel, AGD buy all the land, it makes no difference to them as long as the dollars come in to the Kingdom of Saudigentina and fills their coffers.

    Oct 25th, 2013 - 01:49 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • yankeeboy

    Purposely allowing Small/Medium farmers to go bankrupt to have cronies buy them is in effect expropriation.
    It is the same playbook the Ks have used all along ie water company, gas companies, airlines etc etc etc they squeeze the profits out of the companies through tax increases, penalties and rate increase denials then when they are bankrupt the state “legally” takes them over or they are sold to a crony.
    Scumbag thugs using mafia tactics with the protections of the state.

    Oct 25th, 2013 - 02:31 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • CabezaDura

    Perhaps Yankeeboy but it’s not the same that went on in Zimbabwe and Venezuela, where thugs and supporters of Mugabe or Chavez were handed over by the land the governments had expropriated from the landowners and as they were not proper farmers the production decreased in both cases. Grobocopatel, Urquia and all those have millions of hectares they will continue to buy out the small guys, produce and export soy and derivates, so yes they are associates of the government in a way.

    Oct 25th, 2013 - 04:04 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • redp0ll

    Wrote a long blog on what I believe as a farmer but it vanished into cyberspace, so I will try and be more succint this time. There are two types of agriculturist. The farmer whose maxim is “Live as if you are going to die tomorrow and farm as if you are going to live for ever” and the soil miners who see land as a finite resource to be discarded like an unproductive oil well
    I will develope this if anyone is interested vis a vis present government policies and not just Argentina

    Oct 26th, 2013 - 03:21 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • GeoffWard2

    Good, Redpoll #32

    Oct 26th, 2013 - 09:30 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    32 redp0ll

    Could you please focus it on Uruguay as I am fed up of the idiots south of the plate and I want to learn from someone who I respect.

    Oct 26th, 2013 - 06:27 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    Certainly would be interested.

    Oct 26th, 2013 - 06:34 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • redp0ll

    @33, 34, 35.Will do.Lightning hit our tower last Friday and so the net has only just been restored, so will reply this evening if somone will let me back in on this thread

    Oct 28th, 2013 - 05:42 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Troy Tempest

    Ok

    Oct 28th, 2013 - 06:02 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • redp0ll

    Two sides to the same coin among many others on agriculture, First Monocultures and secondly. how governments skew agricultural fiscal policies and production for short term gain
    Monocultures throughout history has been disastrous. Mother Nature doesnt like them and always kicks the perpetrators in the bollocks sooner rather than later and future generations suffer the consequences
    Examples are legion. The dust bowls of midwest USA in the thirties, the fenland soils in UK which have lost six meters of topsoil in the last century: Just gone with the wind.
    Travelling through NZ I saw barren hillsides where vast sheep flocks once grazed and are now home to only a few half starved rabbits
    So its a mistake thats repeated generation after generation and we dont seem to learn from our errors.
    The old guys in Saxon times knew all about biodiversity and the manorial system of farming using rotations lasted for centuries. Then under Townsend farming was reinvented using a rotation of two cash crops of wheat and barley ( most important for the development of the pub?) with a clover and oh yes Mr Think turnips too. It worked pretty well and fertility was maintained without the use of chemical fertilizers
    Now we have our agronomists who have various catch words and phrases , economy of scale being one. Some of them dont even use the word “soil” any more . Its “substrate” to be nourished with a batch of pesticides and fertilizers, rather like a mother sticking a dummy into a toddlers gob to keep it quiet
    Most family farmers do have an affinity with the land and wish to hand it on to thier successors in better heart than they received it. The monocultural soil fertility miners mostly have no interest in the land and once thier crops produce reducing dividends move elsewhere. Not much different to the Neandertal practice of slash, burn and move on is it?
    No I am not some green tree hugging nut case. As a farmer I have to make a living too. So take the best of modern technol

    Oct 29th, 2013 - 02:53 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Troy Tempest

    ...

    Oct 29th, 2013 - 03:51 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • redp0ll

    Thanks Troy. Ran out of space. So heres a bit moreNo I am not some green tree hugging nut case. As a farmer I have to make a living too. So take the best of modern technology, but dont throw the baby out with the grass roots

    The pavement city artist politicians treat agriculture as just another factory producing just in time goods under a roof whose production can be turned on or off at the drop of a hat and to hell with the weather. They dont realize that to produce a beef animal from decision time to mate the cows to the steak on thier plate takes a minimum of 36 months and a crop does take months to grow to harvest. Under certain circumstances the government is correct in skewing agricultura policies in the national interest.The prime example is UK in war time. Remember the slogan “dig for Victory?” They subsidize grain production at the expense of meat.At that time it took seven kilos of grain to produce one kilo of beef. So it was bread or beef and farmers were subsized to bring some very marginal land. Trouble was that the farmers got accustomed to living off the the teat of government subsidies which led almost directly in colaboration with French policies to the butter mountains and wine lakes of the EEC
    That farmers should pay taxes just like anyone else I have no doubt at all. But now the new mode is a detraction tax, much employed by the Argentine government. To use a bucolic anaology its like asking a goose to lay 20 golden eggs. Instead of allowing them all to hatch, the government takes five of them to make a social omelette. Wouldnt it be better to let all the eggs hatch and then tax the farmer on the profit he makes on the additional Christmas geese?
    Detractions have never worked and state run agriculture even less, the prime example being the Soviet style collective farms, so inefficient that Russia at that time, once Europes granary, was for many years dependant on US wheat to feed thier population
    Not to mention Zimbabwe
    Are the policies of th

    Oct 29th, 2013 - 04:04 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Troy Tempest

    :-D

    Oct 29th, 2013 - 05:55 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • redp0ll

    Are the policies of this Argentine government heading the same way? The old adage “Bread and circuses?” It seems there is little bread and Kristinas circus seems now to have very few spectators.

    Oct 29th, 2013 - 12:53 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • CabezaDura

    Very interesting assesments by redpoll. Governments and markets must understand that there is a limit as for much as how many food there is to be produce without over exploiting the resources.

    For Argentina it is obviously a case of a mixture of lack of planification and a thirst of US$ and populist policies that has lead to this. They also fear letting things go and authorizing wheat exports as the prices will go up even further.

    The irony here is that there was record consumption of fertilizers in 2011 but Argentine farmers are yet faling to re-fertilize in the way they are giving back what take from the soil. The land is turning more acid after each harvest.
    You only have to take an analysis of a patch of land that has been farmed for the last 150-100 years and compare a soil analysis of a a windmill cuadro, montes cuadro, a garden of a casco de estancia, etc to realize this.
    Btw...It seems Soy doesn’t bio-fix back the quantaties of Nitrogen that they said it supposed to do.

    Oct 29th, 2013 - 02:31 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    42 redp0ll

    Very interesting.

    Seems Pepe's learnt the “social inclusion” trick as well. Take from the “rich” for a while and then nobody has any money. Yes, stupid is as stupid does.

    Oct 29th, 2013 - 03:07 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • redp0ll

    Yes CD. Even though soya is a legume it takes out far more nitrogen from the soil than it puts in. It also requires liberal applications of phosphorus fertilizers. Its calculated that at present rates world phosphate reserves will be exhausted long before the oil runs out and then we are knackered

    Oct 29th, 2013 - 04:38 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • GeoffWard2

    Yup, my type of posting.
    Thanks.

    Oct 29th, 2013 - 05:37 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • CabezaDura

    Wow as much as that! Not only we have to repose macronutrients (N,P,K) even more, there is also the micronutrients becoming limited and having to be replaced too, but you have to fertilize not only to cover what the crop demands, you also have to add up to reach the levels of fertility of 20/30 years ago. This is not being done here as a whole. I dont think its going to be that easy replacing the millions of years it has taken reach a balance of nutrients in different soils with some bags of fertilizer once you are sitting on a desert from one year to the other.

    Oct 29th, 2013 - 05:46 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • redp0ll

    Yup cordobes, Its a horrifying legacy to hand on to our granchildren
    Most people I have talked too agree that present agriculture is not sustainable
    We may put off the inevitable consequences for a while with new green revolutions, new crops and new techniques such as hydroponic farms in cities, but sooner or later with an increasing population famine is going to get us unawares
    Aprime example is the Irish dependency on a monoculture potato diet in the 1840s. Before the famine there were 8 million people in Ireland. Before the famine ended nearly 5 million of them had either starved to death or if they were fortunate emigrated to new worlds beyond the seas
    Today almost 20% of food ferried across the world at great expense in resources and treasure goes straight to the municipal dump
    So I ask, is it really essential for folk in the northern hemisphere to have fresh strawberries flown in from for example Uruguay in mid January?
    Our grandmothers used to bottle fruit in season to enjoy over the winter. Perhaps not neccessary today as most western households have a deep freeze in thier homes
    But I cant see any solution to that.

    Oct 29th, 2013 - 06:43 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    48 redp0ll

    When I lived in the UK, we never ate this sorts of foods for one simple reason: invariably they were awful. Strawberries that were green when they arrived in the UK never had the chance to ripen properly, it was in the middle of the winter FFS!

    Can’t stand bottled or frozen strawberries, so unless we had jam we waited for the season to start.

    But I must say that a lot of people take this for granted now.

    Oct 29th, 2013 - 10:01 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • redp0ll

    Maybe we should start peeing at dead of night on our tomato plants ????

    Oct 29th, 2013 - 11:18 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • CabezaDura

    50) The truth is that endless smaller scale productions in the southern hemisphere would not exist today without Europe, US, Asia because we simply don’t have the local demand for them

    What I believe is that great disparities in the wealth of the world contribute to these things happening. When you are poor the diet is made of only energy sources; grains like rice, potatoes and wheat, etc. When you are rich you incorporate much more protein from meat, fish, and vegetables and when even richer you consume more sugars, chemicals and fats of industrialized elaborate food. It’s clear that the world is not big enough to feed the entire human population with a western style diet. In Argentina we resist abandoning beef to consume pork and chicken in exchange, so we don’t export beef and therefore the consumers have a fixed price by the government on the table but the entire policy has proven disastrous, we slaughtered to many mothers and calves and now the numbers of heads have fallen or remained stagnant while URU, PAR,NZ, US, AUS ,etc have conquered markets and raised their stocks. We haven’t realized we are no longer rich enough to afford eating the amount of beef per capita as we used to be.
    Now it’s clear that if millions in China, India and Africa incorporate themselves to the middle classes and they demand more protein and higher value food we will have to start competing as demanders with them for what we produce. As prices rise we will have to get acquainted with eating insects, fish, whale, soy tofu like other parts of the world have being doing so for centuries and cut back on the goodies

    Oct 30th, 2013 - 02:43 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • redp0ll

    @51 A lot of interesting concepts in your posts but to get back to the original topic. So why is there a shortage of wheat and indeed beef in RA? Price control on the final product to give cheap food to the masses but the input coasts are not controlled.
    If a farmer has to produce wheat or beef below the costs he puts in, its a strong incentive for him not to plant wheat or raise beef and by sheer economic factors he is driven into a farming system that will make him a living, like it or not

    Oct 30th, 2013 - 04:59 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • CabezaDura

    52) It’s a long story, but basically it’s a mixture of populism, controlled exports of products, Money thirst of the government, and lack of a long term agricultural plan. By de facto the government has pushed the farmers into soy and safe crops that will cover your costs to the next campaign. The irony is as numbers of cattle have fallen so much the local prices eventually increase to balance the demand at home.
    Its coincidence that as we spoke of these matters today’s news is that Mosaic the biggest selling phosphate fertilizers company is out of Argentina as the surface destined to wheat and maize decreases and they cannot import the goods they elaborate nor shift their revenues overseas
    http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1633798-se-va-del-pais-una-de-las-mayores-empresas-de-fertilizantes-del-agro

    Oct 30th, 2013 - 07:20 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • redp0ll

    @53 Yes cabeza I concur. Mosaic have evidently decided to cut thier losses and run before tier assets are confiscated by the State on some pretext or other

    Oct 30th, 2013 - 08:22 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    @38 redp0ll
    Most interesting, thanks.

    If I may offer:

    The loss of topsoil in the Fens is mainly due to the organic component (of which it is mostly composed), breaking (rotting) down into its component nutrients, which were then taken up by crops or washed away.

    This is actually the result of draining and exposing to air, under water with the right conditions, this breakdown can be greatly reduced, hence peat bogs & fens build themselves up over time.

    Wind erosion has been a factor, but mostly it was just used up, although this has taken several hundred years.

    When it gets down to the underlying clay (which in places they are now at), there may be no other choice but to let it flood again, and return to being wetland.

    We can but hope.

    Oct 31st, 2013 - 06:33 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • redp0ll

    @55 Pugol. I'm sure you know this but fenland peat is alkaline and so fertile whereas moorland peat as found inIreland or indeed the Faklands is acid,usually with a podzol soil structure which impedes drainage
    As tothe fens,its toolate to think that by reflooding Whittlesea Mere we can recover lost ground
    The Isle of Ely, once the refuge of Hereward the Wake is unlikelyl o be surrounded by its marsh land ever again unless something cataclysmic happens

    Nov 01st, 2013 - 07:13 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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