Results from Argentina’s primaries were out today and, if the October elections are to be based on them, we are in for a return of a government that really wasn’t particularly fond of its agricultural sector. And the sentiment was most certainly reciprocated, as you can see from this Bichos de Campo blog post earlier today, and farmers in Argentina are clearly fearing what’s next for them.

That nonewithstanding, Argentina is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of a varied range of agricultural products. And it’s a world-leader in livestock and especially in genetics: it breeds some of the finest animals in the world and produces world-famous beef.

It is a joy to visit La Rural, the Palermo (Buenos Aires) – based show that attracts the creme de la creme of “ganadería” (livestock) in the region, not just the country. A sector that will feel the pressure now, while it is still trying to navigate the implications of the EU/Mercosur agreement (with the other three livestock powerhouses of Brazil, Uruguay and, now also, Paraguay).

There is a lot to be written about the agricultural sector in Argentina. From the viewpoint of British exporters, there are many possibilities if you focus on the segment that exports and therefore needs to compete globally and, particularly in the EU, with high-standards. Again, remember these are world-class producers that have seen it all, so it’s important to understand what they need, to innovate, and also to understand how they work. A farm in Argentina probably has very little to do with a farm in the UK. Pastures in Santa Fe province will be different from those in the Buenos Aires province, and so on. It is also absolutely critical to understand the context (macroeconomic, political, etc) that your potential clients are working in (high volatility, uncertainty, devaluation, high unemployment, taxes, etc). Argentina, and its agricultural sector, can be great for those British exporters that understand all this, but it’s certainly not for beginners.

I leave you now with some pictures of the Palermo show, thanking Argentina-based consultant and market analyst Matías Sara for his guidance and input.

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Branding, including country-brand and origin, will become more and more important for Argentina’s beef exports. Argentineans are famous for their expertise in marketing and branding, can they deliver for these particular products?

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Argentina also manufactures agricultural machinery. Can you compete with local products? Can you sell to local manufacturers? Can you complement them?

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The importance of financing is key in a country with high inflation, currency depreciation and high volatility. Those that succeed are not just good manufacturers, they have to be good at financing, too.

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Some brands and manufacturers have become household names over decades. If you are new, what can you do to compete with them?

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Financing again. And it was pointed out to me that the ad clearly doesn’t correspond to reality in Argentina, showing a lack of understanding of the local context. Can your marketing deliver?

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Lots and lots of financing options.

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Animal genetics: Argentines excel at breeding, as do their fellow neighbours in Uruguay.

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Been told that this is “so very Palermo”. Angus breeders.

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Much-loved by farmers in Argentina and the region: Hereford.

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We also visited the ovine hall. Lots of British breeds, as you can expect. Argentineans do not consume much lamb but lamb and wool do remain important for the sector.

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One wonders if developments in agritech (Argentina is showing good strength even exporting agritech) will help keep young farmers in the countryside…

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Many farms in Argentina are family businesses. That’s important to know in terms of decision-making processes.

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Not just bulls and cows… Argentina is well-known for its amazing horses, too.

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British breeds not just for cows and sheep!

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