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No end in sight for Argentina's soybean stalemate

Argentine farmers are still locked in a bitter dispute with the government over controversial new export taxes. A series of farmer strikes in protest against the higher levies on soybeans (up from 27 to 40 per cent), grains, oilseeds and vegetable oils led to shortages of basic food items in many parts of the country in March. A truce during April broke down with further protests and roadblocks to prevent trucks carrying grain to the country's ports are expected.

The government introduced the new taxes to curb domestic price rises, offset the effects of the devaluation of the Peso, and protect food supplies at a time when it is more profitable for farmers to sell their crops abroad. But farmers say the taxes discourage the sale of crops on futures markets, and could lead to a decline in farm output resulting in up to 2m hectares being left idle in 2009.

Date published: May 2008


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