Argentine farmers 'to end strike'

Decision taken despite president's refusal to roll back new tariff on soya exports..

    The strike by relatively well-off farmers has highlighted class divisions in Argentina [AFP]

    However, some non-union activists have said that they might not stop the strike action because the government still had not committed to opening negotiations.

    Deepening divisions

     

    The nearly 90-day-old strike took a turn for the worse earlier this week when truckers' unions in four provinces, including Buenos Aires, parked their rigs on some 60 roads.

     

    Argentina's economic woes

    Although a nation rich in natural resources, Argentina's 39.5 million strong population has suffered in recent decades from several economic crises

    Fiscal deficits, high inflation and mounting debts culminated in 2001's economic crisis, which s

    parked protests, currency devaluation and debt defaults

    Sixty per cent of Argentinians were also pushed below the poverty line

    Country's main exports include soybeans, corn, wheat, petroleum, gas and vehicles

    Inflation is currently in double figures and farmers say recent tax increases on

    goods such as soybeans, sunflower oil and beef by up to 45 per cent to boost revenues will cripple their livelihoods

    Data source: CIA World Factbook

     

    The confrontation has deepened divisions between Argentina's upper and middle classes - including many well-off farmers - and  the poor, swollen by the country's 2001 financial collapse, who overwhelmingly support Kirchner.

    Kirchner criticised farm owners on Thursday, saying they were ignoring the plight of ordinary citizens.
      
    "Show me the worker, store owner or businessman who can afford  to stop working for 90 days," she said in a speech.
      
    "Only those who have accumulated a great income and a great capital can do it."

     

    She was referring to many large farm owners who have grown rich with the rising price of commodities.
      
    Argentina is one of the biggest food producers in the world,  leading with exports of soya bean oil.

    It is also the second biggest  corn exporter, after the US, and the fifth biggest wheat exporter.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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