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Argentina: 40% reduction in white garlic exports expected

In less than a month, the harvest of white garlic for export will start in the Argentinian province of San Juan, where most of the country's production concentrates. 

"There have been intense droughts in San Juan and we've had restrictions on irrigation water, which added to the systematic destruction of the business in recent years and has led to an increasing reduction of the acreage," affirms Javier Garcia, president of the Association of Producers, Packers and Exporters of Garlic and Related. 

Garlic growing is going through a bad time in Argentina. Drought, inflation and competition from third countries like China have led to dramatic declines of the arable acreage for this vegetable in recent years. 

In 2006, San Juan exceeded 3,000 hectares devoted to the production of garlic; today, the reality is completely different. 

"Last year we had 1,000 hectares of exportable garlic, and this year I do not know if we'll reach 600 hectares planted," says Javier. 

While a 40% reduction in export volumes is expected, local producers still harbour hopes about the season not being completely negative. 

"There is much interest in the U.S. market, which banned the import of Chinese garlic, so we hope shipments to the United States will increase and prices will rise a bit," he states. 

In any case, growing garlic is a declining activity in Argentina and it is unlikely that this situation will be reversed in the short or medium term. 

"Many in the industry want a 'mega devaluation', which would surely benefit producers, although it would have a negative impact on the rest of the Argentinian population. There are many other ways to improve our competitiveness without the purchasing power of our countrymen being affected, and one of them would be for the government to eliminate the garlic export retentions."

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