Unrest in Argentina is again threatening to disrupt the marketing of farm commodities, most notably soybeans and soybean meal. Many farmers are refusing to sell grain or livestock because the government refuses to lower the levy on soy exports. This battle was fought a year ago and resulted in a slowdown for Argentine exports and may have cost that country market share. Argentina is the No. 1 soybean meal exporter in the world.
"Production is falling because we've got dismal agricultural policies and things are going to get worse from now on," says Eduardo Buzzi, president of the Argentine Agrarian Federation. "Prices have fallen but they wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the scourge of these export taxes," he adds.
Last week President Christina Fernandez offered to share $1.8 billion of the soy tax with provincial and municipal governments each year. But this move just infuriated farm organizations more because it was seen as an attempt to buy public support. The situation is now being described as a "climate of hate" between those involved in agriculture and the Argentine government.
Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.