Wheat, a Christmas gift

Now that the drought is over and after the last floods, frost and hail wrested about 200,000 tons of wheat that was to be the best crop in a long time, Buenos Aires prepare to receive 9.2 million tons of cereal. It’s not little. At US $ 200 per ton, wheat increases the producer bank account and provincial revenues. A higher dollar and input prices influence the equation, which, although they are dollarized, did not grow in tandem with the devaluation. Leonardo Sarquís, Minister of Agribusiness of María Eugenia Vidal, adds the income for the barley that is commercialized in function of previous contracts of the farmers with the malterías. This year, some 4 million tons will be obtained. “In barley, we have the best genetics in the world,” he says. In the case of wheat, the scepter belongs to Russians, Canadians and French because the cereal needs a lot of night chill, which abounds in the winters of those countries.

The main destination of the wheat of the humid pampa is Brazil. In the neighboring country and partner there was an effort to achieve self-sufficiency, but they can not because of the tropical climate. Brazil consumes 11 million tons of wheat, basically in the form of cookies and flour. Argentina exports almost half. And it is conquering new markets such as Mexico with bread wheat and Italy with wheat for pasta.

By the way and in the hand of retentions to soybeans and a growing awareness of the need to rotate soils, the province that previously planted 70% soybeans and the rest other crops, balanced the balance with 50 and 50. If soy is added , corn and sunflower, Buenos Aires generates US $ 9.8 billion of the US $ 28,000 that will total these grains. Sarquis adds the livestock production that will bring US $ 800 million corresponding to the export. “This makes the foundations of the house better, but it’s not enough,” says the official, who seems to be dissatisfied. For him it is possible to export value. And these are his calculations: a ton of grain wheat is worth US $ 200, if it is flour it is worth US $ 400 and if it is shipped as a noodle, US $ 1,800.

Thus, they launched to sell to Saudi Arabia that imports food for US $ 150,000 million a year and that barely buys US $ 1,000 million in Argentina. Of course it requires that instead of tomato be sent trays with certain specifications or instead of half cattle, ready cuts to place in the home oven.

The same happens with the honey that the Province promoted since the creation of a fund with public money to boost exports. Of the equivalent of US $ 35 million that sold honey in 2016, it jumped to the current US $ 140 million and is looking to leave the export in the 200-liter drums for containers ready for the supermarket gondola.

When Sarquis is asked about his priorities, he responds with the word debureaucratization and lists how they reduced procedures to make things easier. For the minister, it is only the beginning and he admits that without access to credit, the field finds its limitations very quickly.

It’s curious. In this context, La Plata weaves initiatives with distant Sichuan in western China that has 100 million inhabitants. Buenos Aires signed a pact of brotherhood to help them develop work in the field. In the first approaches, they designed comprehensive plans where robotics and drones also participate, which are used to control large areas on line. To seduce the Chinese, the Buenos Aires people brought virtual reality devices in which in just two minutes they told them about that Argentina that was the breadbasket of the world. Will it happen again?

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