Argentine farmers resume protests
By BBC News
Argentine farmers are resuming a nationwide protest against the government, believing they are not receiving enough support in the face of rising production costs.
October 3, 2008
Buenos Aires, Argentina -They want economic concessions for smaller farms, and say they will suspend grain exports and limit the export of beef for the next six days.
The government has urged the farmers to call off the protest and resume talks. Farmers' protests earlier this year lasted four months and led to food shortages.
However, farmers' leaders have said that they will not put up the road-blocks that caused such disruption at the time.
Farm leaders want the government to provide subsidies for small and medium-scale farms, which they say are suffering rising production costs.
They also want economic help for those in the north of the country hit by the worst drought in 100 years.
The country is one of the world's major exporters of beef and grains, especially the lucrative soybean crop. But like much of the world, it is being hit hard by rising fuel costs and falling commodity prices.
Relations between the farm leaders and the government in Buenos Aires are strained.
Agriculture Secretary Carlos Cheppi said that given the current international situation, the strike did nothing to help Argentina.
Farm leader Eduardo Buzzi said the situation in the Argentine countryside was only getting worse.
Many in Argentina are still recovering from the last farmers' protests, and very few have the stomach for another prolonged dispute. Four months of protests over government proposals to increase export taxes on grains, especially soybeans, led to massive disruption across the country and food shortages in some towns and cities.
The government's proposal was defeated in parliament, but farm leaders still have a number of issues to resolve.