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Argentine Farmers to Halt Grain Sales Over Tax Dispute

Argentine farmers will suspend all trade of grains and livestock for six days after Buenos Aires, the largest farming province, raised taxes on rural property.

Farmers will halt sales nationwide between June 6 and June 12 to protest government agricultural policies, including the tax increase and currency-exchange restrictions, Ruben Ferrero, president of the Argentine Rural Confederation, said during a televised meeting with reporters in the capital city of Buenos Aires.

The strike deepens the dispute between farmers and President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government. Four months of farmer strikes in 2008 led to food shortages throughout Argentina after Fernandez tried to raise taxes on corn and soybeans.

“We’re in a bad situation and it’s getting worse,” Eduardo Buzzi, head of the Argentine Agrarian Federation, said in a televised meeting of the farm unions. “The government is indifferent to the agriculture problem.”

Argentina is the world’s second-largest corn exporter behind the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The country is also the world’s third-largest soybean grower behind the U.S. and Brazil.

To contact the reporters on this story: Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires at eraszewski@bloomberg.net; Matt Craze in Santiago at mcraze@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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