Argentina’s new policy of limiting beef exports for the rest of the year will hurt production, the ranchers said on Wednesday in a statement that signaled growing tensions between the agricultural sector and the center-left administration.
Export restrictions, announced on Tuesday, which include capping monthly beef exports at half last year’s average level through August, are aimed at controlling high domestic food inflation.
But farmers say limiting or taxing exports is not an effective way to fight rising prices at local supermarkets.
“The ideological rhetoric used to advocate for the measure to reduce meat prices is laden with lies,” rural companies in Tucuman and Salta provinces said in a joint statement.
“The government insists on preventing production,” they said.
The South American grain plant is the world’s fifth-largest beef exporter and a key supplier to China. A near-total ban on beef exports in May had fueled tensions with the agricultural sector and led to protests and a halt in trade.
“The government’s announcement package obliges us to remain united and attentive. We cannot allow this continued domination of the agriculture and livestock sector,” they said. ARC’s main agricultural umbrella organization said it supported the statement.
Beef prices in Argentina, known for its family barbecues and succulent steaks, are a touchy subject, especially with the midterm legislative elections approaching in November.
In the 12 months leading up to April, meat prices in Argentina soared 60% to 70%, according to official data. In the first four months of 2021, 28.8% of the 965,286 tonnes of beef produced in Argentina were exported, of which 76.6% went to China.
The government’s medium-term goal is to increase meat production from the current 3.2 million tonnes to 5 million tonnes per year, the production ministry said on Tuesday. He did not provide details of his production improvement plan.
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