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June 11, 2009
Q&A: Ask your questions on Argentina’s farming crisis

The debate over agricultural policy in Argentina could pave the way for political transformation.

The country was once the world’s biggest exporter of beef and was known as the “bread basket” of South America. But Argentina may be forced to import beef next year, and many of the country’s farmers blame government restrictions on exports.

In recent months, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has refused to lower hefty export taxes despite continued protests. She and her supporters face an uphill battle in this month’s Congressional elections, with an approval rating of roughly 30 percent.

Tensions have been exacerbated by the looming economic crisis and a severe drought, the worst in some 70 years, which has devastated crops.

Watch the Worldfocus signature story “Farmers, drought and taxes cripple Argentina.”

Some farmers are now planning to run for election, hoping to leverage public support and pave the way for a new congressional majority that could lower taxes.

Worldfocus.org’s weekly radio show explored the state of Argentina’s farms and what the future holds for the country’s economy and leadership.

Worldfocus anchor Martin Savidge hosted a panel of guests.

Cristian Harris is an assistant professor at North Georgia College and State University. His research focuses on the impact of international trade on the formation of domestic political divisions, as well as trade policy and development in Argentina and Latin America.

Marcelo Regunaga is a former secretary of agriculture for Argentina and the vice chairman of the International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council. Now a professor, Marcelo has consulted for several organizations, such as the United Nations Development Program and the World Bank.

Marie Trigona is a Buenos-Aires based writer, radio producer and filmmaker who reports on labor struggles, social movements and human rights in Latin America. She formerly worked for the Buenos Aires Herald and now contributes to Free Speech Radio News and other independent news sources.

Thank you for your questions.

Associated photo courtesy of Flickr user Alicia Nijdam under a Creative Commons license.

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