Farmers prolong strike over soy-tax hike

Argentinian farmers, who have been protesting government agricultural policies for three months, announced in a press conference that they will withhold grain and soya sales for export.


Argentine farmers said late on Monday they would keep up their strike for another week in protest over the government's tax hike on soya exports after holding demonstrations in several towns.

Farmers' organizations, which have led nearly three months of protests, announced at a news conference their plan to continue to withhold grain and soya sales for export despite recent concessions from the government.

Tens of thousands of farmers earlier on Monday demonstrated in central towns, including Armstrong, Cordoba, Entre Rios and La Pampa, with many shops and businesses closing up in support.

President Cristina Kirchner's government has pushed ahead with the tax despite protests by the farmers, who have set up road blocks and disrupted grain shipments and meat deliveries to Argentine supermarkets.

The tax is set at 44 percent currently, but could go as high as 52 percent if soya goes above 600 dollars a ton.

The government on Friday offered to fix a cap of a little more than 52 percent on the sliding tax scale if the price of soya surpasses 600 dollars a ton. But the measures failed to defuse the farmers' strike.

Argentina is one of the biggest food producers in the world, leading with exports of soya oil. It is also the second-biggest corn exporter, after the United States, and the fifth-biggest wheat exporter.

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