Buenos Aires Times

economy AGROEXPO 2019

Macri hails agricultural 'miracle' at Agroexpo as record harvest looms

In a 12-minute speech, president praises producers for 'miracle' recovery from 'worst drought in 50 years,' with a record harvest anticipated this electoral year.

Wednesday 13 March, 2019
President Mauricio Macri, pictured during a walk-around at the Expoagro 2019 exhibition, in San Nicolás de los Arroyos, Buenos Aires province.
President Mauricio Macri, pictured during a walk-around at the Expoagro 2019 exhibition, in San Nicolás de los Arroyos, Buenos Aires province. Foto:NA

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President Mauricio Macri addressed a warm audience audience at ExpoAgro 2019 this morning, announcing a trio of new policies in support of the agricultural sector and praising producers for bouncing back from last year’s “driest drought of the last 50 years.”

In a 12-minute speech aimed squarely at its audience, the president hailed producers for making “a miracle” with a record harvest anticipated this year, thanking producers for its efforts.

“What the campo has done is a miracle. You have recovered from the worst drought in years and are heading for a record harvest,” the president said.

The president’s visit comes just 24 hours after Buenos Aires province Governor María Eugenia Vidal opened the event.

With a nod to the electoral year, Macri also reiterated why voters should back his re-election in October in a “foundational” year, telling those gathered that “it is important to clear the political uncertainties as soon as possible” and choose whether they will “ratify” the path the nation is currently on or opt for another offer made up of “short-cuts.”

Macri also reference his decision to introduce a new tax on crop exports worth four pesos per dollar last year, echoing previous comments that the levy was “a bad tax.”

“It is an emergency. We want our food to reach the entire world, and the campo can generate a lot,” he said.

All shipments of primary exports will face the levy until 2020, meaning payments will depend on commodity prices and the exchange rate. That measure was a turnaround for the Cambiemos (Let’s Change) administration, which had sought to repeal existing taxes introduced by previous governments. 

“Together, we are scratching the pot to re-plant," he said.

Unveiling three new measures, the president said his administration would continue, improve and reinforce the Safe Harvest (Cosecha Segura) programme that helps protect crops in order to expel “all the mafia behaviour” aimed at producers who seek to “steal the work of a whole year.”

“We are working better and better with security teams and the provinces in question so that this disappears," he said.

He also vowed to follow through on investment promises on infrastructure, specifically roads and “the routes and highways that this country needs, so that production can be [better] transported.” He also promised to improve online connectivity so that “1,700 small towns will have access to the Internet.”

Finally, he promised two credit lines, available through the BICE (Bank for Investment and Foreign Trade, Banco de Inversión y Comercio Exterior) to facilitate the purchasing of new machinery and equipment.

"We know the difficult and hard times we are experiencing from financial restrictions,” he added.

Ending his speech, Macri highlighted his administration’s achievements and trained his fire on the opposition. 

"It's hard to leave behind years of improvisation. You never believed in shortcuts and magic solutions. What exists is work, dialogue and teamwork in all sectors,” he said.

“I’m here because I believe in you and what you can do.”

- TIMES/PERFIL

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