BUENOS AIRES, June 22 (Reuters) - Argentina's government
said on Tuesday it will limit exports of some beef cuts until
the end of the year as part of its effort to control domestic
food price inflation.
The world's fifth-largest beef exporter and a key supplier
to China, Argentina halted exports for a month in mid-May.
"Exports are being re-established, but only up to 50% of
last year's average exports," Argentine Minister of Productive
Development Matias Kulfas told a news conference.
Argentina's farm sector is against the government
intervening in the meat and grains export markets.
"We disagree with opening exports only 50%," Carlos
Achetoni, president of the Argentine Agrarian Federation (FAA),
told local media.
But the government has domestic inflation on its mind. In
the 12 months through 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 country's overall inflation rate is expected to approach
50% this year. Beef prices in Argentina, known for its barbecues
and succulent steaks, are a touchy subject, especially with
midterm legislative elections coming up in November.
"Our plan has short-term objectives of organizing the sector
to provide a supply of meat in the domestic market at affordable
prices," Kulfas said.
The government's medium-term objective is to increase meat
production, from the current 3.2 million tonnes to 5 million
tonnes per year, the ministry later said in a written statement.
"This way, 3 million tonnes could be destined for the
domestic market, which could bring local consumption to more
than 70 kilos per year per inhabitant, and 2 million tonnes for
export, which would double last year's exports," it said, adding
that the plan will start being implemented within 30 days.
(Reporting by Agustin Geist and Nicolas Misculin in Buenos
Writing by Hugh Bronstein
Editing by Adam Jourdan and Matthew Lewis)