The Argentine government will not impose a tax increase on agricultural exports or limit how much grain can be shipped abroad to halt rising food prices, Reuters reported on 10 February.

Farmers in the country had warned they would protest if the government implemented its plan to hike export taxes or impose export quotas to hold down inflation, Reuters said.

“We can convey to our producers that there will be no increase in export taxes and no intervention,” said Jorge Chemes, president of Confederaciones Rurales Argentinas (CRA), told Reuters after leaving a meeting with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez.

Agriculture Minister Luis Basterra had said the president was seeking to strike a deal with the sector to stabilise food prices, Reuters wrote.

“The president expressed a willingness to negotiate to resolve the problem, and to not apply the measures,” Basterra was quoted as saying. He said the government’s goal was to ensure “affordable food for Argentine tables.”

A government source said any agreement would depend on how the farm sector acted, indicating there was a degree of conditionality about holding down taxes.

Government officials had previously warned existing levies on farm exports – paid by export companies but passed down to producers – could be increased as the country struggled with consumer price inflation that reached 36% last year, and 4% in December.

Prior to the meeting, Fernandez had accused farmers of being one of the main drivers of inflation, Reuters reported.

However, Chemes said that producers had told the government during the meeting that the problem was with the supply chain rather than with farmers.

“It was perfectly understood that our participation in the final price is low,” Chemes said.

Farmers would meet more regularly to discuss the root cause of rising food prices, he added.

Argentina was the world’s top exporter of soya oil and soya meal livestock feed, Reuters wrote, and third top global exporter of corn. It was also among the leading international suppliers of wheat.