In drought-hit fields in Argentina, billions of {dollars} in losses and farmers sinking By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Dried sunflowers are seen at a farm, amid Argentina’s worst drought in sixty years, in Tostado, northern Santa Fe, Argentina February 8, 2023. REUTERS/Miguel Lo Bianco


By Lucila Sigal

CIGUENA/ROSARIO, Argentina (Reuters) – Within the Argentinian city of Ciguena, rancher Andrés Betiger is struggling to maintain his farm from collapsing amid the South American nation’s worst drought in 60 years, which destroyed soybean, corn and wheat crops and dented herds of cattle.

To fetch water, Betiger travels 52 kilometers (32 miles) with a reservoir and a rickety tractor that always breaks down, reflecting how arid climate since final 12 months has taken a toll on farmers, who delayed sowing and even deserted crops.

“Issues are unhealthy, we do not have a lot, we do not have margins to cease issues for 4 or 5 days. We virtually carry water daily for the animals to drink,” stated stated Betiger, 41, who’s contemplating submitting for chapter.

“It hurts, it scares me,” he added. “It is already changing into financially and bodily unsustainable.”

Argentina’s drought is having a huge impact on international meals markets, forcing farmers to chop crop prospects and reduce grain provides from the world’s largest exporter of soybean oil and meal, the No. 3 for the corn and a significant provider of wheat and beef.

This in flip impacts Argentina’s potential to construct up much-needed greenback reserves, threatening to derail a fragile financial restoration and depart the federal government unable to service its debt amid hovering inflation and a deep deficit. budgetary.

“In Argentina, this drought scenario has created an ideal storm,” stated Cristian Russo, head of agricultural estimates on the Rosario grain trade, which reduce its estimate for this month’s soybean harvest to what could be the bottom in 14 years.

The affect of the drought, linked to a 3rd consecutive La Nina climate occasion, might worsen additional, he added, which might result in additional reductions within the outlook for soybeans and corn. The wheat harvest has already been halved by the drought.

“There are extra causes to be pessimistic and to assume that the numbers will proceed to fall,” Russo stated, including that by way of the harvest, it was shaping as much as be the worst in 20 years.

“It will be a disaster like we have not seen. It implies that many producers will go bankrupt.”


In one other dry and dusty Sante Fe area, Gustavo Giailevra lifts the top of a pregnant cow immobile within the warmth to get it to drink. He would not assume she is going to survive, however he needs her to have a “respectable loss of life”.

Like many farmers, Giailevra – who has already skilled extreme droughts – has seen her livelihoods challenged over the previous 12 months. A 3rd of his 900 head of cattle died and he misplaced most of his cotton and maize crops because of the acute lack of rain.

“You hear the calves bleat till they die. It is horrible,” the 63-year-old instructed Reuters at his farm, the place the water tanks he dug have all dried up. forcing him to deliver what little water he can by truck. .

Many farmers within the area say they misplaced early planted corn, wheat and soybeans, so to recoup their earnings, they planted fields with extra drought-tolerant cotton. Many have misplaced livestock, which threatens to have an effect on beef provides and drive up costs.

The federal government has rolled out tax reduction measures for farmers, although depleted state coffers have restricted firepower. Farmers Reuters spoke to stated the measures had been simply “fixes”.

Within the area visited by Reuters, the affect of the drought has been brutal.

The lagoon of El Bonete within the close by city of Vera has utterly disappeared, as have the species that lived in and round it. One city had confronted greater than a month with out operating water.

The financial hit of the drought for producers, in the meantime, might be round $10.5 billion, stated Julio Calzada, head of financial analysis on the Rosario inventory trade, principally resulting from a decline in exports.

“Argentina would lose about $8 billion in exports,” he stated, including that this could characterize a lack of about $3.5 billion in authorities income, which might have an effect on reserve ranges. change already exhausted.

“The nationwide economic system is predicated on earnings from rural areas,” he stated. “This (drought) is the primary drawback for the economic system.”