A soyabean export tax based on farm size is being proposed in Argentina to increase revenue and reduce competition between commercial and small-scale producers, according to a report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Speaking about the proposed export tax, Luis Basterra, Argentina’s minister of agriculture, livestock and fisheries, said: “We are applying the concept of social equality, that is to say, that export taxes are rising for those with greater ability to pay, and there will be a benefit for less well-off producers, who the prior governments never served.”

The USDA said the increased export taxes were strongly resisted by the Argentinian agriculture industry and there was also concern that the Argentinian government might be trying to prevent unified farm resistance by dividing groups by farm size.

In December 2019, the newly elected Argentinian government raised taxes for many exports including soyabeans to fund spending. This was followed on 4 March with another hike on soyabean export taxes to 33% from 30%.

Argentina’s 2019-20 soyabean production estimate had been raised to 54.1M tonnes due to improved growing conditions in the region, the 5 March USDA Agricultural Information Network report said.