BUENOS AIRES, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The Argentine government on Tuesday said it was allowing beef exports to partially resume, 30 days after suspending shipments abroad to guarantee the supply and optimum prices of the culinary staple for the domestic market.
After meeting with President Alberto Fernandez and representatives of the domestic meat sector, Minister of Productive Development Matias Kulfas announced exports would resume following the 30-day ban, but be capped at a maximum of 50 percent of the volume exported in 2020.
"This decree establishes that exports are rehabilitated to complete 50 percent of the average of last year's exports. The goal is to rehabilitate them but gradually, taking care of the domestic price, seeking to put a limit to the excessive rise in domestic meat prices," Kulfas said at a press conference at the government headquarters.
Meat price rises have contributed to high Argentine inflation, which reached 17.6 percent in the first quarter of 2021, according to the INDEC statistics institute.
However, the government suspension of beef exports in mid-May sparked protests from Argentine cattle farmers. After launching a two-week halt on domestic beef sales, the farmers intensified dialogues with the government.
Kulfas said that it was agreed to maintain the restrictions on exports of seven specific cuts of beef until the end of the year after "constructive dialogue" with the representatives.
Kulfas also announced the launch of the "Livestock Plan," which aims to increase meat production to five million tons a year, allocating three million for domestic consumption and two million for export.
Luis Basterra, minister of agriculture, livestock and fisheries, said the government has taken these steps because it doesn't want "the great opportunity that the export market signifies to run counter to the population's access to products."
"The way to do that is through dialogue, so there really is an opportunity for all sectors to enter into a win-win situation," he said.
Argentina is the world's fifth largest producer and fourth largest exporter of beef, and also one of the largest consumers.