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Page last updated at 04:23 GMT, Thursday, 8 May 2008 05:23 UK

Argentina faces new farm protests

Soya field in Argentina
Argentina is one of the world's biggest exporters of soya

Farmers in Argentina say they will resume protests against tax increases on food exports, following the collapse of talks with the government.

Farm leaders say they plan to prevent shipments of grain from leaving.

Argentina is one of the world's top exporters of corn, wheat, soya and beef.

Correspondents say a prolonged dispute could have an impact on international markets at a time when food prices are already at record levels.

The farmers are particularly angry about an increase to the export tax on soya - a commodity which last year earned the country $13bn (6.6bn).

In March protesting farmers blocked roads for three weeks, preventing trucks from delivering produce, leading to food shortages.

Road of confrontation

Several weeks of negotiation have ended without agreement, and the farmers said they would resume the protests, although they promised not to block highways, as they did in the previous strike.

"After 57 days, we haven't advanced," said Eduardo Buzzi, president of the Argentine Agrarian Federation.

"The government has chosen the road of confrontation. It's the only reason we haven't reached an agreement," he added.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has said the taxes are a means to raise badly-needed revenue, curb inflation and guarantee domestic supplies.

The BBC's Daniel Schweimler in Buenos Aires says the March protests threw the country into disarray, and plunged the government into crisis.

The economy minister, Martin Lousteau, was sacked over the crisis.




SEE ALSO
Q&A: Argentina farm protests
01 Apr 08 |  Business
Argentine farm tax crisis worsens
27 Mar 08 |  Americas
Why are wheat prices rising?
26 Feb 08 |  Business
Argentina's divisions clear to see
26 Oct 07 |  Americas
Country profile: Argentina
12 Dec 07 |  Country profiles

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