Four of Argentina’s main farm associations announced on Tuesday a five-day commercial strike that will begin this weekend to protest the Argentine government’s market regulations. Argentine farmers, one of the largest global providers of food, will stop selling livestock and grain from Saturday, June 15, through Wednesday, June 19.
The strike is motivated by rising production costs, export restrictions, high inflation, and high export taxes—up to 35 percent in the case of soybeans—and aims to get the attention of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner just months before the midterm elections. Currently, the Argentine government restricts the export of wheat, corn and meat to ensure a low domestic price.
The relationship between the Argentine government and agricultural workers has been strained for years, beginning with a four-month strike in 2008 that protested Fernández de Kirchner’s attempt to raise taxes on corn and soybeans. The strikes caused food shortages throughout Argentina and eventually halted the planned tax increase after the public showed broad support for the farmers.
Since exporting firms have had advance notice of the strike and will have several days to acquire the goods they need, the strike is not expected to affect commercial exports. Next Thursday and Friday are public holidays, so the strike will only affect the market for three days next week. According to a source from the export sector, “the effect on exports won’t be large, they’ll be relative. [The strike] is more a political move than anything else.”