Agricultural Policies in Argentina

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The Food and Agriculture Reviews provide a comprehensive assessment of agricultural policies and calculate a set of policy indicators developed by the OECD. These indicators are regularly used in the analysis of the agriculture and food sector in OECD countries and several emerging economies. This review analyses both the indicators available for Argentina and the main agricultural policy areas, such as trade, innovation, sustainability, risk management and value chains. It also provides a series of policy recommendations.

Argentina’s agricultural sector has undergone a considerable innovation process over the last two decades. This transformation was mostly led by a dynamic and pro-active private sector often subject to policies providing negative support via export restrictions and taxes. The rapid adoption of technologies, such as improved varieties and no-till farming, and organisational innovations have contributed to increasing the Total Factor Productivity of crops. Government focus on providing such general services as research, extension, and animal and plant health has facilitated innovation as has the proactive management of risks by farmers. Nevertheless, environmental pressures are increasing with deforestation and the use of pesticides.

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Executive summary

The Argentinian agro-food sector has grown and innovated remarkably in the last three decades, driven by technological change and, over much of the period, by high international agricultural prices. An upper‑middle income country, well-endowed with natural resources and human capital, Argentina has a history of macroeconomic volatility and policy instability that has contributed to its long term overall poor economic performance. Despite challenges, agriculture is the country’s main exporting sector and an exception in terms of performance. Agriculture in the extended Pampas region has experienced a major structural transformation involving crops, manly cereals and soybeans, productivity growth and new on‑farm practices, technologies, institutions and contractual arrangements. Land use and production have significantly changed in favour of soybeans, and exports have shifted towards China and other Asian economies. Meanwhile, other products in other regions have under-performed: agricultural goods produced outside the Pampas region such as vegetables, fruits, cotton and tobacco have experienced lower productivity growth rates.

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