Despite a recent accord with the government regarding corn exports, Argentine farmers are again on alert following statements from officials who did not rule out the possibility of increasing taxes on food exports as part of its effort to control high inflation.
Consumer prices in Argentina rose by more than 36% last year, heaping economic problems on families also hit by a recession that started in 2018 and fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which completed almost a whole decade of stagflation.
I do not rule out anything, including more taxes on food exports, the Argentine president's Deputy Chief of Staff Cecilia Todesca said in a local radio interview on Thursday.
We don't have that many tools and we have to use everything we have, she added.
In recent months, international prices of soybeans and corn have reached their highest levels in years. Argentina is the world's No. 3 corn exporter and the top international supplier of soy-meal livestock feed.
Todesca said in the interview that the goal of President Alberto Fernandez administration was to dialogue with farmers and agro-exporters to find methods to avoid sharp increases in domestic food prices.
Last month the government moved to limit corn exports with the intention of lowering domestic food prices, but it ditched the plan after protests from the agricultural sector.
Growers said the limits would have weighed on investment and farm production at a time when the central bank needs export dollars to replenish its foreign currency reserves and face international debt payments.