“The reduction of fiscal pressure, among other measures, should encourage production…”
Rodolfo Luis Rossi is the president of the Argentine Soybean Chain Association – ACSOJA, and has a degree in agronomy from the University of Buenos Aires.
AgriBrasilis – What are your expectations for the new government of Argentina?
Rodolfo Rossi – Most of us, citizens, were hoping for a change that would reverse the bad economic situation, something that the leaders of the last decades have failed to accomplish. The new president comes from outside of politics and with messages and promises that have captivated voters. Nowadays we have high expectations that the right measures will be taken to avoid a fiscal deficit and stabilize the macroeconomy by eliminating distorted taxes and market interventions in our sector.
AgriBrasilis – Should there be a schedule for reducing retenciones (export taxes) in the country?
Rodolfo Rossi – We believe that these taxes can be gradually eliminated, leading to greater investment and application of technology, generating greater production and exports in the agricultural sector, which is the most dynamic and agile in the country.
The current government has promised to end the mandate with zero retenciones in the main crops, such as soybean.
AgriBrasilis – Why is it necessary to update the Seed Law in Argentina? Did the 1970 law prevent companies from entering the sector?
Rodolfo Rossi – Today we have the lowest investments in genetic improvement in most autogamous crops, vegetables, and fruit trees. We need to reverse this situation, with a change in legislation and with the industry’s commitment to respecting intellectual property.
AgriBrasilis – Is non-payment of royalties beneficial to farmers?
Rodolfo Rossi – Investments in this area need to be adequately rewarded. The payment of royalties on the seed is essential to encourage the sector and will allow greater investments in genetic improvement and biotechnology, which ultimately allows for greater genetic gains to be obtained and for more quality product options. The main beneficiary is the farmer, as they have better seeds and more options to increase their incomes.
AgriBrasilis – Given the recent failures in soybean harvests and the increase in retenciones, how do you see the future of the crop in the country?
Rodolfo Rossi – We have had several years with weather problems, which have lowered average yields, and a larger area of off-season soybean compared to wheat, which has lower yield potential. The high export taxes (retenciones), which have been levied on soybean for more than 20 years, have recently led to a drop in the planting area and production and greater idle capacity in the industry.
The use of technologies has fallen because the farmer manages their margins by reducing the costs of inputs that are not essential. Almost everything has to do with the fiscal pressure in the country. The reduction or elimination of retenciones will allow a safe growth in production, reaching in a few years the 65 – 70 million tonnes that we aspire to.
AgriBrasilis – What are the demands of the soybean sector?
Rodolfo Rossi – The main ones are the reduction of tax pressure, the end of retenciones, the improvement of transport infrastructure and access to ports and navigable waterways, a new legislation on intellectual property in the seed sector, a new policy on biofuels, greater international discussion on restrictive import measures and the necessary macroeconomic measures for the sector, such as the single exchange rate.
AgriBrasilis – You said that, as in the case of Brazil, Argentina can multiply its soybean production. How can this be done?
Rodolfo Rossi – The reduction of fiscal pressure, among other measures, should encourage production, with a larger planted area for all crops, and especially higher yields. We know that Brazil has a higher potential surface area, but Argentina will certainly be able to grow, offering the world flour, oil, biodiesel, and higher value-added products, derived from soybean.