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Argentina to Increase Maize Exports

17 September 2012

ARGENTINA - Argentina will export an additional 2.75 million tonnes of maize from its 2011/12 crop, the country's Minister of Agriculture Norberto Yauhar confirmed last week.

This will increase the amount of maize to be exported by Argentina from that harvest to 16.45 million tonnes, Mr Yauhar told FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva when they met at FAO Headquarters.

"The additional shipments, together with recent better-than-expected figures from the US Department of Agriculture, should help ease tight international markets," Mr Yauhar said.

Argentina, the world's second biggest maize exporter, was responsible for roughly of 15 per cent of the world's maize exports in the last three years.

"This goes to show that there is no threat of a global food crisis at present, although we must continue to be vigilant and monitor the situation closely," Mr Graziano da Silva added.

The Minister spoke about the prospects for the upcoming harvest, noting that the outlook for both rainfall and plantings of maize and soybeans were very positive. He added that Argentina has already earmarked 15 million tons of maize and 5 million tons of wheat for export for the 2012/13 season.

Minister Yauhar also noted that Argentina maintains reserves of one million tons of maize and one million tons of wheat.

"For FAO, maintaining food security reserves is a very good strategy that contributes to the stability of domestic prices of food," said Mr Graziano da Silva.

Mr Yauhar added that during an official mission to China this week he and the Chinese Minister of Agriculture discussed the possibility of having strategic food security reserves at the regional and international levels.

The Director-General expressed interest and support for this proposal and said that he would discuss this issue in his upcoming visit to China in early October.

Coping with volatile prices

Graziano da Silva and Yauhar also noted that the world is now better placed to cope with higher food prices than during the crisis of 2007-2008. One reason is Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS).

Established in 2011 by the G20, AMIS contributes to increase market transparency and reduce price volatility and includes the Rapid Reaction Forum (RRF), which makes it possible for countries to coordinate action and respond faster to volatile food price situations.

The FAO Director-General and the Minister of Agriculture of Argentina agreed it was important that countries use international mechanisms such as AMIS instead of taking unilateral action.

They also noted that there was also better coordination within the United Nations System through the UN High Level Task Force on Global Food Security.

TheCropSite News Desk



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