Foreign Trade

The decline of Argentina’s beef industry

BY Vladimir Hernandez, BBC, Buenos Aires | | Comments (0)

Argentina has made a name for itself around the world with its steaks.

But things are changing dramatically in this country.

Fish exports have overtaken the more traditional beef exports, which reflects the rapid decline of the farming sector in recent years.

The latest figures seen by the BBC show that during the first quarter of 2011 Argentina exported more than 145,000 tons of fish and seafood, double the amount of beef sent abroad during the same period of time.

And while fish exports are on the rise, beef is looking at the wrong side of the scale.

Farmers say that production levels are still falling fast, largely because of the government quotas on beef exports that have been in place since 2006.

“The government decided to cut down on exports in order to push for an increase in the internal offer of beef, in an attempt to reduce the price of the product for local customers,” says Carlos Pujol, a beef trader in Buenos Aires.

“But the type of cuts that our industry exports is not the same type that is consumed inside Argentina.

“Therefore the stock levels have dropped as there is no incentive to produce something that won’t get eaten.”

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