| BUENOS AIRES, April 3
BUENOS AIRES, April 3 Argentine growers have
been energized by the country's new tax and trade policies,
setting the stage for increased grains planting and farm
investment, the head of the local unit of agricultural machinery
company Deere & Co said on Monday.
The country is the world's top exporter of soymeal livestock
feed and a major supplier of wheat, corn and soybeans at a time
of climbing demand as global population grows toward 9 billion.
The free-trade policies of President Mauricio Macri, elected
in 2015 after an eight-year feud between the farm sector and
Argentina's previous leader, have already sparked wider planting
of corn and wheat.
Based on conversations with farmers, it is a trend that John
Deere expects to continue, Gaston Trajtenberg, president of John
Deere Argentina, said in a telephone interview.
"They have an optimistic approach in that even if commodity
prices are not at the highest level they can plant and see a two
or three year term that will allow them to increase investment,"
"The speed or the pace of growth will depend on how much
confidence they feel about the sustainability of the business
environment moving forward."
The staying-power of Macri's policies will be tested in
October's congressional election. He is expected to run for a
second term in 2019.
The Argentine farming expansion comes amid heightened
competition in the global grains market, with world stocks of
key staples including corn, soybeans and wheat all projected to
swell to record highs this season.
In February, Deere forecast that equipment sales would rise
for the first time in three years, partly driven by improving
economic conditions in Brazil and Argentina.
The South American market is expected to show industry-wide
sales growth of 20 percent in harvesting combines and 15 percent
in tractors in 2017, according to Deere projections.
This season's wheat crop was 14.96 million tonnes versus
10.9 million the previous year, according to the Rosario grains
exchange. Corn is expected by the exchange at 38 million tonnes
versus 30.1 million and soybeans are projected at 56 million
tonnes versus 55.5 million.
"Every time you find available financing and see a horizon
with sustainable rules, the sector would like to keep investing
and improve efficiency," said Trajtenberg.
John Deere Argentina makes tractors and harvesting combines
in Granadero Baigorria, a town near grains hub of Rosario.
(Additional reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Editing by Mary