Argentine farmers extend strike

Concessions by the government have so far failed to ease farmers' concerns.

    The strike is the biggest challenge so far for 
    Cristina Kirchner, the president [AFP]

    They said at a news conference that they would continue to withhold grain and soya sales for export, even though the government had recently offered concessions.


    Luciano Miguens, president of the Rural Society of Argentina, said: "We've decided to continue the non-sale of grains destined for export until 0:00 hours [0300 GMT] on Monday June 9."


    Miguens said that farmer's restrictions on livestock sales would be lifted on Tuesday morning out of concern for citizens.

    Increasing world prices

    The strike has further increased the world market price of soy and wheat during what has been termed a world food crisis.

    In video

    Al Jazeera reports on Argentina's standoff

    Argentina is the world's third largest corn and soy exporter and forth largest supplier of wheat and beef.


    Ernesto Kritz, an analyst at SEL Consultants, told Al Jazeera: "Argentina could feed 300 million people with their present production.


    "I am sure Argentina could contribute to solve the world food problem, [by] increasing their exports and providing incentives [to farmers to grow more]."


    Greater capacity


    Lucia Newman, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Argentina, said that the country had the capacity to double or triple grain supplies.


    The government started limiting exports of wheat and beef last year in an effort to safeguard national supply and keep a control on the price of products such as flour and bread locally.


    Alberto Rodriguex, director of the Cereal Exporters Centre, told Al Jazeera: "The government has been imposing strong restrictions to wheat exports.


    "It hasn't authorised new exports since November except for Brazil and in limited quantities."


    This has occurred concurrently with the increases in export taxes on grains.


    Sliding tax system


    The soya tax is currently set at 44 per cent, but could go as high as 52 per cent if the product price rises above $600 a tonne.


    On Friday, the government offered to fix a cap of a little more than 52 per cent on the sliding tax scale if the price of soya surpasses $600 a tonne. However, this failed to satisfy the farmers.


    Farmers are demanding greater changes to the sliding-scale tax system.


    The strike has become a crisis for the government. A study released on Monday showed public confidence in the government to have fallen from April to May, precipitated largely by the farmer's crisis.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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