(Photo; From right to left, Delgado, Neme, De Felipe, Grobocopatel, and Loizeau)

Buenos Aires, October 31st. Today LIDE, the acronym of “Lideres de Empresas”, carried out its Agribusiness Chapter annual convention. It was the first relevant meeting of the agribusiness sector after the presidential election, past Sunday, October 27th.

Then, the organizers, led by Mr. Gustavo Grobocopatel and Rodolfo de Felipe, called Mr. Jorge Neme and Gabriel Delgado to close the event. Both are pointed out as possible candidates to head the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries when elected president Alberto Fernandez takes office, next December 10th.

In fact, Delgado was the latest undersecretary of Agriculture during the second mandate of former president Ms. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, while Jorge Neme led the UCAR, a ministry branch that executed the funds provided by multi-lateral financial institution like the BID or the BIRF, throughout the Nestor Kirchner and CFK mandates.

It is possible that leaders in the agribusiness value chain would be pleased if Delgado or Neme take the reins of the Agriculture branch, but until now, Alberto Fernández didn’t emit any signal about who will be the next minister. Both people are well appreciated in the farming sector, due to well knowledge about the agro value-chain and their reasonableness to understand the way of thinking in the rural Argentina.

The audience expected for definitions about the ag-policy of the next president, but they didn’t obtain them. Both Neme and Delgado emphasized the needs of dollars of the country, perhaps one the most scarce stuff, and the role of the farm value-chain to generate those dollars via the exports. Delgado said that Argentina needs around 15 billion dollars per year to equilibrate its public finances, and only farming, mining, energy, and tourism are able to supply this amount.

“We can’t generate more imbalances to cover this gap”, Delgado addressed the audience. “Argentina is no able to kick to forward its fiscal deficit, and it hasn’t more assets to sell. The ‘cepo’ (Spanish word used to refer to restrictions to buying dollars) is just a temporal solution, no a structural one”, he explained.

The speakers brought calm to the audience with respect to the foreign trade saying that the next government will not impose new restrictions on beef exports like in the past. They are confident that the needs of dollars will play a positive role to enhance the export policy.

But Neme remarked that it is a priority to solve the access to the credit. “For example, if you are thinking in mounting a pig ranch you must invest seven thousand dollars per mother; for 2,000 mothers that implies US$14 million investment. And I ask my self, where do you take that money? This is the reason why Brazil has 3 million pork mothers, and we just the tenth part”, he stressed.

Conclusion: rebuilding the credit circuit and promoting the exports are the two priorities to recovery this weak Argentine economy.