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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Rice, the only sector that will celebrate in the midst of the drought

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In the presence of the president Luis Lacalle Poufrom the vice president Beatriz Argimon and the minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MGAP), fernando mattos; and between acknowledgments, criticisms and requests from the Rice Growers Association (ACA)the rice harvestone of the few crops that was not affected by the extreme drought in Uruguay and who promises to give good news at the end of the harvest.

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The first rice yields exceed 9,000 kilos per hectarefor the third consecutive harvest, and production for the 2022-23 harvest will exceed 1.4 million tons, according to MGAP estimates. This is one of the few good news that the agricultural sector can give in the midst of the desperate situation that most crops are going through.

Rice has managed to survive thanks to the fact that, as long as there is water for risk, high temperatures and light are favorable for it. But Mattos also highlighted the enormous effort of rice producers to produce the 159,700 hectares planted between the departments of Artigas, Salto, Tacuarembó, Rivera, Cerro Largo, Thirty and three, lavalleja and rock; even with the loss of 2% of the area due to lack of water.

Rice will be one of the few crops to reap good results, improved productivity and higher prices, mainly due to demand for Brazil, according to the head of the MGAP.

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The balance of the rice farmers

At the beginning of the extensive one-hour speech given by the president of the ACA, Alfredo Lago, the solidarity of the sector with the producers affected by the water deficit and two initiatives in this regard were highlighted: on the one hand, the arrangement of crop stubble for the assembly of bales; and, on the other, the idea of ​​”harvesting water”, encouraging the development of multi-property dams such as the dead indian to be prepared for the next droughts.

In addition to this, the head of the union reviewed the I raise of the sector, including those fulfilled and in process.

As positive aspects, Lago valued the tax reduction announced the previous week, and valued the government’s actions to start the educational reform process, as well as the intention to vote shortly in the Parliament the social security reform bill.

He also thanked the attention that the Republic Bank (BROU) and its participation in the recovery of the sector in recent times, but expressed concern that rice customers have not been able to increase significantly.

Lago also highlighted the government’s initiatives at the international level, such as the bilateral negotiations with China and Turkey and the application for admission to Transpacific Agreement, since the sector depends “on the exports 95% of what we produce is consumed by people from outside Uruguay in more than 60 countries: therefore, any trade action that promotes trade agreements with the world is welcome”.

Regarding public rates, the president of the ACA said that there has been progress, but the highest rates in the region continue, as is the case of fuels, which has Uruguay with the highest price in the region. “The free import of fuels It is the only solution, you know that, President,” he added, regarding the search for mechanisms to bring the rice to port at the lowest possible cost.

The theme of exchange rate delay It was one of the strongest points, as the exchange rate has especially affected the agricultural sector in recent times.

“Last year we alerted him and told him that there was a yellow light on at the traffic light, and that we did not want it to turn red, but well, unfortunately the light is red,” Lago said directly to the president, referring to the fall that the dollar had during 2022.

Lago reminded the president that in the first presidential speech, on March 1, 2020, “you said [sobre] the need to resume national competitiveness”; In this sense, “the exchange rate weighs heavily on the current conformation of competitiveness.” “A low exchange rate is not defense security in the medium and long term, who may be benefiting momentarily,” added the trade unionist.

Finally, Lago said that in a few days they will begin to negotiate the final price from the past harvest, and “ACA will fight for the fair price that corresponds to the producer.”

And, by way of closure, he again referred to the president in closing: “Mr. President, the list may have been long, but we feel it is fair: the rice chain in these 3 years of your government has not stopped innovate, invest, increase jobsincreasing foreign exchange and transferring more resources to the State through the payment of more taxes,” he said.

Lacalle Pou arroz.jfif

President Luis Lacalle Pou during the launch of the 2022/23 rice harvest in Uruguay.

Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MGAP)

The president’s response

For his part, Lacalle Pou was quick to respond to Lago’s claims. Highlighting the closeness of the government to production, he explained that “the exchange rate has a lower percentage in the incidence of the country’s measures”, although, at the same time, he assured that there was an “intervention” of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF). Likewise, he added that in recent times there has been “a huge income of dollars with exports”, as the reason behind the strength of the peso.

“Whenever we come here we take notes. We don’t leave satisfied with what we did because it is our duty. Not everything that is fair is possible, for economic reasons or for priority issues, and one of the great dilemmas of a ruler is precisely that what is fair is somehow possible”, Lacalle Pou also expressed.

Source: Ambito

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