BUENOS AIRES – The Argentine government on Thursday announced a record wheat harvest of 18.3 million tons for the 2016-2017 season, a 62 percent increase over last year, authorities said.
“This is the most important harvest in the history of the Argentine Republic and for us it’s a starting point in management,” said Agriculture Minister Ricardo Buryaile at a press conference.
The figure exceeds the government’s forecast and imply that there will be 11 million tons of wheat for export and a 45 percent increase in cropland devoted to the grain.
The record was achieved despite the fact that many of the country’s most important production areas have been affected by poor weather conditions over the past year.
The decline in output in those areas was compensated for by increases in other parts of the country, which is among the world’s largest wheat producers.
“We always rely on the agricultural sector thinking that it is a dynamic sector, a growing, thriving sector,” said the minister, who added that the figures show that the Mauricio Macri government “was not wrong” to adopt various measures in its first year in office, including reducing export taxes.
Buryaile said that the results were achieved because “predictability” had been returned to producers and as many as 20 international markets had been opened up.
“After 20 years, the country has recovered a balanced rotation between pulses and soybeans that is what is going to allow it to have sustainability in output in the medium term and continue growing,” Deputy Agriculture Minister Luis Urriza said.
The ministry also released other figures that are still not final, including the fact that the corn harvest will exceed 40 million tons, with 24 million tons of that going to exports.
During the 2016-2017 season, the Argentine government estimates that it will attain the objective of 130 million tons for all agricultural products combined.
Buryaile also commented on the government’s aim to strengthen fiscal reforms to eliminate “unfair” taxes on producers and the halt in Argentine lemon imports ordered by the US administration of Donald Trump.
The minister said that both on the lemon issue and the process to resume sales of Argentine beef in the US – suspended since 2001 due to health restrictions that were lifted last year – Argentina had taken all the necessary sanitary and legal steps, as a result of which it hopes for good news in the coming weeks.