Thiago Arantes: We see many opportunities, due to the territorial extension that Argentina has and the excellent genetic quality of its cattle. Among these opportunities, I believe that the weaning rate could be increased and about 8% more calves produced, but for that, health and reproduction programs must be implemented. The productive capacity of this country is incredible, not only to produce volume but also to produce very good quality meat. There is incredible potential for growth in poultry and pigs, not only in the domestic market but also in exports. Today there is no focus in this regard, but Argentina could be a very strong player worldwide, as it is with soybeans.
Q.: Is it true that the livestock producer does not invest much in health?
TA: Totally agree. I make the comparison with their car insurance: everyone has one to protect their truck but none does it to protect their cattle. The insurance is the vaccine, which could protect your animals against foot-and-mouth disease, reproductive, viral, respiratory diseases, etc. There are tools available in the market and I believe that from the Chamber of Veterinary Products (CAPROVE) we should encourage farmers to make this investment because for every peso invested they return 10 in profitability. Even so, we have problems reaching less technical producers. They are the ones who should invest the most to have less mortality and higher production. There is an opportunity for them to obtain more profitability in their business, but they are used to living with sub-productivity.
Q.: Do you think it will be necessary to be more efficient to survive in livestock production?
TA: The fields are becoming more expensive for soybeans and there is a reality, the land cannot multiply. Ranchers must focus on their production and allocate more investment, otherwise they will have to allocate it to those who are willing to do so. What is going to change is the productive pressure due to the value of the fields, that is going to change in business.
Q.: Is Argentina an attractive place for companies like MSD?
TA: It is a super attractive country for the healthcare market. All the great companies in the world are here. There are challenges but we have to know how to handle this situation. We have a very good technical team to achieve this and we must focus on producers being able to generate more. They are passionate, they live from the business and they know how to do things well. There are few countries that have these strengths. Argentina is an attractive market where there is room to grow. If the internal macroeconomic situation stabilizes a bit more, the country could grow if it focuses on agribusiness, without market intervention. That is what works in other countries: Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil are three examples of Argentina’s neighbors.
Q.: What is your view of the economy and business for this 2023?
TA: We see a risk of global recession due to inflation, not only because of what is happening in Argentina. The regional market and also the global one will be very challenging. In 2023 it is practically certain that we will not have growth, but after a crisis there is always growth in demand, which is why I think that perhaps in 2024 we could have a strong rise in exports, but we will have to see if Argentina goes search for that claim. If the decisions of Argentines in 2023 rely more on agribusiness, we are going to have a great year in 2024.
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