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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Innovation success and the need for modernisation

During the last three decades, Argentina’s agriculture went through a process of notable production and structural change and innovation. Outside the Pampas region, agriculture showed little dynamism during the last decades, but within it a remarkable increase in arable land area and productivity was associated with the widespread adoption of new technologies such as no‑tillage and biological improvements, and the expansion of soybean production. With new roles and new actors such as large service contractors, sowing pools and farmers’ innovation associations, the private sector has led the innovation process responding to economic incentives. The role of policy has been important in creating basic and applied knowledge and facilitating its diffusion and adoption, in particular through the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA). Argentina benefited from access to genetic innovations in advantageous conditions that are unlikely to recur. However, the Agricultural Innovation System needs to improve its capacity to respond to new environments and growing sustainability challenges, focusing also on “regional economies” (agricultural production chains outside of the Pampas region), improving the enforcement of seed intellectual property rights, and enhancing INTA capacities to respond to new demands to create and transfer knowledge.

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