May 15, 2022 2:03 pm

The Government evaluates increasing funds for agricultural emergency

The harsh drought that agricultural production is going through and puts at risk the record foreign exchange income from the countryside projected for this year due to the deterioration of the soybean and corn harvests already worries the Government.

The Minister of Agriculture, Julián Domínguez, toured the fields of Entre Ríos and Santa Fe yesterday and met with producers to assess the impact of the lack of rain. He also met with the ministers of both provinces, Gustavo Bordet and Omar Perotti, respectively, with whom he evaluated the possibility of implementing aid measures for those affected.

“We are working on concrete solutions for our producers,” said Domínguez, explaining that the objective of the dialogue with the provincial leaders is “updating the agricultural emergency fund, a historical need and request from producers”.

This fund, established by law, is $500 million, but has not been updated since 2009. Last March, the Argentine Agrarian Federation (FAA), which brings together small and medium producers, proposed to update it and take it to $12,000 million. In Congress, Deputy Ricardo Buryaile (UCR-Formosa) presented a bill this week to update it to $6 billion.

Domínguez said that President Alberto Fernández is working on the issue. “He asked me to be here, together with our producers; The decision of the President and the governors is to accompany the producers in this moment of uncertainty, as a consequence of the drought”said the Minister of Agriculture in Entre Ríos.

Regarding the productive losses due to the drought, the official said that they are still in the evaluation process. In private sources, such as the Rosario Stock Exchange, a loss of 14% of the corn harvest and 11% of the soybean harvest is already calculated, compared to what was projected at the end of last year.

The loss, which could be greater if the predicted rains do not arrive tomorrow, implies a drop in export revenues of some 2.6 billion dollars, 10% of what was calculated for foreign sales of agriculture in 2022.. To this are added the losses in livestock, due to the scarcity of fodder, and the deterioration in regional economies, such as yerba mate and afforestation in Misiones and Corrientes.

In Entre Ríos, Domínguez met with Bordet in the town of Lucas González, in the department of Nogoyá, where they also spoke with producers from the local cooperative “El Progreso”.

In Santa Fe, he met with Perotti in the city of Rafaela and spoke with producers from the Presidente Roca commune. “Climate change and the consequences of the drought are here to stay”, and highlighted: “in this situation it is necessary that we also have irrigation instruments for small and medium-sized producers, with differentiated financing, direct acquisition, from industry and national technology.”

Private sector specialists warn that this drought, if the situation is not reversed, could be similar to that of 2018, which caused the loss of some 30 million tons of grains and the deterioration of foreign currency liquidation by exports that caused the exchange crisis that hit the Macri government.

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