November 18, 2022
From the exchange rate gap to the drought: the CEOs of agriculture revealed their concerns and challenges
In a seminar, leaders of the sector pointed out the loss of competitiveness, the costs and the impact of the climatic phenomenon, which will cause, due to lower production, a drop in the income of foreign currency.

During the National Agribusiness Forum organized by LIDE Argentina, CEOs of companies such as Los Grobo, Adecoagro, Goyaike and industry leaders warned about the difficulties facing the field due to the exchange gap, the impact of the drought and the lack of progress in issues such as a new seed law, among others. In addition, as they warned, the possibility of a new soybean dollar paralyzed the market, with sales of the grain slowed down.

The event, which brings together the main leaders, public and private specialists in the sector, was held at the Alvear Palace. There they talked about the potential of the activity, but also, among other points, that "the increase in costs is in dollars." For executives, this causes them to go "slower" and lose competitiveness.

In the first panel, made up of Christian Angio, CEO of Goyaike; Enrique Flaiban, CEO of the Los Grobo Group; Ezequiel Garbers, country manager of Adecoagro; Agustín Dranovsky, CEO of Compañía de Tierras Sud Argentino, stressed that agriculture “does not produce dollars”, but rather “soybeans, corn, products, food”, and that given the problem of the exchange rate gap “it is compromised with payments to the Exterior".

“We are stuck with the seed law and it is what will encourage production the most by 40%, 50%, 60%. That seems key to me because we are losing competitiveness. We are missing out on a huge opportunity right now with this," said Garbers, who considered that it is time to invest and take care of natural resources.

As they highlighted, the drought has a strong impact on investment and working capital to produce. "Every time one faces a campaign, it looks like something very simple and it is not like that," said Flaiban, who spoke of the demands of the world markets. On this, he highlighted: "We must not wait for more foreign investment to come, we have to be protagonists in this path, we can do it, we have competitiveness."

“Let's see the comparison with Brazil, where they were before and where they are now in the production of commodities; they have surpassed us We don't want to reinvent ourselves all the time, but let's look a little further back. We have to rethink ourselves going forward, work on research with biologicals, part of our team thinks about the sustainability of Los Grobo and Argentina”, stated the CEO of Los Grobo.

In this line, he added that the sector, after the drought, in the short term is seeing how it works to alleviate this circumstance. “The other is how to face the gross [campaign], towards which crop to go, soybeans or corn depending on what is happening at such an important situation, where soybeans have an important differential, since the Government has the need to become of dollars. Soybeans have become the gold of the field due to the need of the Government”, he highlighted to LA NACION. In addition, he pointed out that first it will be necessary to see what will be the result of the fine campaign, of wheat and barley, since the yields were affected.

He spoke of the problems of inflation. “The inflation in dollars that we are having is hitting the competitiveness of the sector a lot. The margins continue to be positive, but all the increase in costs in pesos is being eaten away; It is a very high inflation in dollars, which is worrisome, ”he said.

Meanwhile, he maintained that since the possibility of a soybean dollar II began to circulate, all commercialization stopped. “They hold out and wait as long as they can and then market it. Although soybeans are exported, the other impact is that the Central Bank is issuing more pesos to get hold of those dollars, and that ends up in inflation. The Government is devaluing by layers and sectors, ”he explained.

On another panel were José Martins, president of the Grain Exchange of Buenos Aires; David Roggero, president of Aapresid, and Eduardo Borri, president of the Argentine Chamber of Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers (Cafma). They made proposals, references to technology and even self-criticism was heard.

“Let us think that we have not known how to communicate; the world demands things, we have a law stopped in Congress [from the Argentine Agroindustrial Council (CAA)]. Investments are not raining today, and we are not here by chance, what it is about is to see how to deconstruct ourselves, resolve and face this opportunity, and we have to see the need for a consensus pact”, pointed out Martins.

Meanwhile, Borri indicated that the machinery sector "has a very short sheet for finished products." The businessman pointed out that the drought had a great impact on that sector and that this was compounded by the absence and increase in the cost of credit. “We went from having rates of 30% in Expoagro, seven months ago, to having rates of 90% or 120% in some cases for those who retain grain stocks. We cannot control the drought, but we can discuss the issue of interest rates with the Government, to be able to draw up specific lines, ”he told LA NACION.

“We have 100% inflation and 70% devaluation, the producer price is linked to the devaluation and not to inflation and the price of commodities. The Government took out a credit for agricultural machinery of 500,000 million pesos with 30 subsidy points and it will remain at 50%. It is a nice rate to be able to invest and the producers will be able to use it. Sometimes, with this grain penalty and the withholding of credit, because there are producers who withhold grain and do not give them credit, they are also penalizing us. This is something that must be reviewed, because later we are the ones punished who cannot sell ”, he expanded. The drought, he said, has already impacted planter manufacturers, where sales have fallen 70%. →

Automatic translation from spanish.

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