Argentina Agriculture


Wheat harvest

Argentina's wealth has traditionally come from ranching and grain growing, and agricultural commodities continue to be a mainstay of Argentine exports. A bright spot for the economy in 2006 was the agricultural sector.

In the first part of this decade many agricultural producers saw commodity prices fall while the cost of their inputs rose. They also contended with scarce credit and high export taxes. Of late this situation has improved fairly dramatically. In August, 1997 Argentina also for the first time in 67 years exported a shipment of beef to the United States.(The country was declared free of foot and mouth disease in May.) The government hopes to export as much as one million tons of beef a year by the year 2000, and beef producers are looking at this as an important conduit to the lucrative markets of Asia and Japan.

Argentina’s soybean crushing capacity more than doubled during 2005 - 2006 years helping solidify Argentina as the world’s leading exporter of soybean meal and soybean oil. Argentina produces 18 percent of the world’s soybeans but accounts for 46 percent of the world’s soybean meal exports and 55 percent of the world’s soybean oil exports.

What are the factors behind Argentina’s strength in exporting soy products? A few factors include small internal consumption of soy products, new efficient soy processing facilities, and a competitive currency exchange rate - but a primary driver in the continued expansion of Argentina soy exports is a Differential Export Tax (DET) that financially favors the export of processed soy products over whole soybeans.

Read about biodiesel production in Argentina

Soybean Production




Production per Product

All data referred to 2004 information by the FAO. Around 3% of the country is cultivated, while big part of it is used for cattle and other livestocks.

Cereals

The main production and exports of the country are cereals, centered around soybean wheat and sorghum for export, as well as rice and barley mainly for national consume. With a total area of around 210.000 km², the annual production of cereals is around 50 million tonnes.

Oilseeds

Oilseeds became important with the raise of the international price in the late 20th century. Of the 18.2 million tonnes produced annually, around 80% belongs to maize and 15% to sunflower seeds. The total cultivated area for oilseeds is around 41.000 km².

Meat

Meat is one of the most important export product of Argentina. of the over 4 million tonnes of meat, around two thirds correspond to cattle not counting 500.000 tonnes of edible offal. Then follows in importance chicken meat with 785.000 tonnes, pig with 150.000, and sheep and goat with 60.000. Cattle is mainly raised in the provinces of Buenos Aires and Santa Fe, specially that for exportation.

Fruits

Together with lemmon, apples and Pears are the most important fruit products, produced mainly at the Río Negro valleys and Neuquén of Río Negro Province and Neuquén Province, as well as in the Mendoza Province. Other important cultives include peaches and other citruses. With an area of around 6.000 km², the fruit production is around 8 million annual tonnes.

Sugar cane

The sugar cane production and derivates, mainly cultivated in the Tucumán Province, is of around 19 million annual tonnes, with a covered area of 3.000 km². There are also sugar-cane factories (ingenios azucareros) for the production of sugar and cellulose.

Cotton

The annual production of around 190 thousand tonnes provided by the 2.5 km² planted comes mainly from Formosa Province. Nevetheless, the cotton cultivated area has been reduced in the last decade because of low international prices due to the use of artificial fabrics.

Milk

Milk production is of around 8 million annual tonnes. Its production, as well as the assiciated diary industry, favoured by the Argentine economic crisis of 2001 that placed production costs way below the international price. This incremented the milk and diary product exports, but also raised their local prices.

Vegetables

Vegetables, mainly potatoes, onions and tomatoes, are cultivated all over the country, almost exclusivelly for local the internal market. Other important products include sweetpotato, pumpkins, carrots, beans, peppers and garlic. An approximate area of 3.000 km² produces over five million tonnes of vegetable every year.

Argentina: Agriculture

Principal Crops ('000 metric tons)

  2002  2003  2004 
Wheat  12,300 14,530 14,560
Rice (paddy)  713 718 1,060
Barley  570 549 1,004
Maize  15,000 15,040 15,000
Rye  80 37 37
Oats 500 348 348
Sorghum 2,847 2,685 2,160
Potatoes 2,133 2,150 2,021
Sweet potatoes 281 281 320
Cassava (Manioc) 165 170 170
Sugar cane; 19,250 19,250 19,300
Dry beans  278 216 130
Soybeans (Soya beans)  30,180 34,800 31,500
Groundnuts (in shell)  517 316 419
Olives 93 99 103
Cottonseed  104 111 190
Sunflower seed  3,843 3,714 3,100
Artichokes 86 88 88
Tomatoes  668 670 675
Pumpkins, squash and gourds 291 294 296
Chillies and green peppers 123 125 125
Dry onions  646 678 699
Garlic  126 127 143
Carrots 225 230 230
Other vegetables 645 648 642
Watermelons 126 126 126
Cantaloupes and other melons  80 79 80
Bananas 180 180 180
Oranges  767 687 770
Tangerines, mandarins, clementines and satsumas  464 381 450
Lemons and limes  1,313 1,236 1,300
Grapefruit and pomelos  205 184 170
Apples  1,157 1,307 1,262
Pears  537 639 510
Peaches and nectarines  212 256 272
Plums  106 151 127
Grapes 2,360 2,370 2,365
Tea (made)  63 64 64
Mate  285 285 290
Tobacco (leaves)  125 118 118
Cotton (lint)  62 65 112

FAO estimate(s) † Unofficial figure(s)

Source: FAO

Livestock ('000 head, year ending September)

  2002  2003  2004 
Horses  3,650 3,655 3,655
Mules  180 185 185
Asses  95 98 98
Cattle  48,100 50,869 50,768
Pigs 3,500 3,100 3,050
Sheep  12,400 12,450 12,450
Goats  4,000 4,200 4,200
Chickens 110,500 110,700 95,000
Ducks 2,350 2,355 2,355
Geese 135 140 140
Turkeys 2,850 2,900 2,900

FAO estimate(s) † Unofficial figure(s)

Source: FAO

Livestock Products ('000 metric tons)

  2002  2003  2004 
Beef and veal  2,493 2,621 2,700
Mutton and lamb  50 52 52
Pig meat  165 150 150
Horse meat  56 56 56
Poultry meat  742 781 885
Cows' milk  8,793 8,197 8,100
Butter  55 55 55
370 350 360
Hen eggs  255 303 300
Honey  83 75 80
Wool: greasy  65 72 60
Cattle hides (fresh)  345 375 378
Sheepskins (fresh) 23 25 24

FAO estimate(s) † Unofficial figure(s)

Source: FAO


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