By Eliana Raszewski
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s main farm associations launched a 24-hour grain and livestock trading halt on Wednesday in protest against the government, criticizing high tax rates, currency controls and a scarcity of diesel that has hit farmers during harvest season.
The protest was not, however, stopping transport of grains to ports at Rosario, one of the world’s largest grains export hubs, nor was it affecting grains shipments. Argentina is the world’s No. 1 exporter of processed soy and No. 2 for corn.
“We suffer from the lack of fuel and the impossibility of buying supplies due to restrictions on dollars,” said Carlos Achetoni, president of the Argentine Agrarian Federation, one of the entities that called the strike.
“This is combined with tax pressure and lack of financing.”
There have been weeks of protests in Argentina by truckers due to high fuel prices and scarcity linked to global energy concerns, which has at times hit grains transport. The corn harvest is advanced and the soybean harvest has just finished.
However, there was no obvious impact on Wednesday on grains trucking, with some 4,013 trucks entering the ports of Rosario, Agroentregas data showed, compared with 4,073 a day earlier.
Graphic: Argentina: grains truck traffic, https://graphics.reuters.com/GRAINS-ARGENTINA/byprjbybqpe/chart.png Amid a wider economic crisis in the South American country, farmers complain that tax pressures are too high and worry that the government will try to hike export tariffs further to raise much-needed foreign reserves.
Farmers will hold assemblies and demonstrations around the country on Wednesday, including a central event in the province of Entre Rios.
Cabinet Chief Juan Manzur told reporters on Wednesday that the government encouraged “dialogue” to find solutions with the farm sector. “We do not agree with this strike,” he said.
Argentina: grains truck traffic https://tmsnrt.rs/3E6QpQu
Argentina: grains truck traffic (Interactive graphic) https://tmsnrt.rs/3JuNZwp
(Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Jonathan Oatis)