Argentina: farmers strike again

Farmers in Argentina began a six-day strike Sept. 3, halting delivery of grain crops and beef and holding public assemblies by the side of roads in several areas around the country. The strike comes after farmer leaders broke off talks with government over a new policy for the agriculture sector, hard hit by a severe drought. “All of us are Argentina,” Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner complained. “That is why no single sector can hold the rest of society hostage, least of all at times like these.”

Earlier this year, farmer protests managed to block a government bill to increase tariffs on the export of soybeans and other key crops. But now, with the north of the country hit by the worst drought in 100 years, farmers are demanding reforms.

“We are going to show that the countryside is mobilized and ready to keep going forward with its demands for its rights. We want policies to change, and whenever we talk to [Agriculture Minister Carlos Cheppi] he tells us he is evaluating the matter. He cannot keep delaying solutions,” said farmers’ leader Mario Llambias.

“If they had invited us to engage in dialogue and we had been able to make progress we would not be by the roadside now,” small farmers’ leader Eduardo Buzzi agreed. (BBC, Trend News Agency, Oct. 3)

See our last posts on Argentina and peak food.