BUENOS AIRES – A boycott on the consumption of beef pushed by consumers associations in Argentina has managed to reduce sales by 40 percent and drive prices down by about 25 percent, organizers told Efe on Thursday.
“We’re very happy with the results we’ve achieved in just three days,” emphasized Hector Polino, the head of Consumidores Libres, the organization that pushed for the boycott in response to a more-than-60-percent rise in beef prices between December and January.
Polino said that the measure will continue until next Monday and emphasized the support of the press and consumers, who – in his judgment – should “begin to exercise this method that functions so well in European countries.”
“The success of this boycott will give consumers the encouragement to continue using similar measures to confront excessive increases in (prices within) the basic basket of foods,” he said.
The government has attributed the rise in beef prices to a decision by cattleraisers to keep their herds in the fields to fatten them and increase earnings.
The producers deny that and say that, because of mistaken government policies in the sector, the overall Argentine cattle herd is decreasing in size.
The current tally is that there are 51 million head of cattle in the country and this figure has been declining in recent years, mainly because cattleraisers liquidated breeding cows to move to more profitable activities, like planting soybeans.
Ranchers groups say beef production this year will total 2.4 million tons, about a third less than last year.
Interior Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno will meet on Friday with representatives of the beef production chain to – according to press reports – present to them a “list of suggested prices” for the different cuts of meat.
Argentina has the world’s highest per capita beef consumption rate at 73 kilograms (about 161 pounds) per year. EFE