Yerba mate: The government’s decision opened a rift between Misiones and Corrientes

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Last year, the record of sales in the domestic market was broken by 283 million kilograms
Last year, the record of sales in the domestic market was broken by 283 million kilograms

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POSADAS, Misiones.— The The nation’s secretary of agriculture It recently surprised the plant world with a decision that defied expectations for years An increase of almost 49.71% With the cost of the raw material of this mass consumption product, the green leaf for the October-March semester.

In Resolution 51/2023, which was published in the official gazette yesterday, the Ministry of Agriculture decided to increase the official price of a kilogram of green leafy vegetables from 46.3 USD in the semester ending September 30 to 70.08 USD for October-March 2023. yerba canchada (a product resulting from the drying of the green leaf) is 266.3 pesos, an increase of $49.4 over the previous semester’s values.

The law that created the National Institute of Yerba Mate (INYM) in 2002 stipulates that every six months the directors of this organization, representing each link in the yerba mate chain, from tareferos and small producers to industrialists, dryers, cooperative members and representatives . The governments of Misiones and Corrientes must set the price by unanimous agreement.

But when the INYM disagrees – something that happens 2 out of 3 times – the rule states that it must be the country’s secretary of agriculture who must determine the raw value of one of the products that has more penetration. Argentinian families.

INYM head Juan Jose Szychowski and the nation's Secretary of Agriculture Juan Jose Bajillo.  This morning they defended their decision to increase the cost of raw materials by almost 50% for the October-March semester.
INYM head Juan Jose Szychowski and the nation’s Secretary of Agriculture Juan Jose Bajillo. This morning they defended their decision to increase the cost of raw materials by almost 50% for the October-March semester.

The award of yerba mate surprised everyone because in recent times, under the Kirchnerist governments or under Mauricio Macri, the agricultural decision has always tended to control the price of the popular product. But this time, after strong political work by the INYM and the Missiones government, they managed to tip the balance from 10 to 50 hectares in favor of 12,000 small producers of yerba mate crops, the vast majority of whom live in the red soil. .

INYM head Juan José Szczyvoski and Misiones Governor Oscar Herrera Ahudi met with Secretary Juan José Bajillo in recent weeks; Commerce Secretary Matthias Tombolini and the head of the two, Economy Minister Sergio Massa, put forward the demand for a 75-peso cost per green leaf.

The decision caused discomfort among some industrialists, who indicated that the new price could affect the cost of the gondolas. spoke Four industrialists, and not one dared to say how great this influence might be.

There are about 12,000 small producers with 10 to 50 hectares of land in Yerbal, the vast majority of them located in Misiones.

“We were surprised by the award, the national government is inconsistent when it talks about fighting inflation and giving a 50 per cent increase every six months will have any impact,” he said. A leading yerba mate company executive.

Another who came to the defense of the industry was Corrientes Production Minister Claudio Anselmo, who said that “Certainly, the increase in the price of raw materials will be passed on to the consumer. When is it talked about, but the processing industry, which will have a higher cost of replacing raw materials, will have to move at some point.”

In addition, Anselmo is the director of the INYM of the Corrientes government and two years ago was the production manager of yerbatera Las Marías, number 1 in the local market with its Taragüí brand. Number 2 is Playadito, also from Corrientes, the cooperative that has been the most dynamic and the fastest growing in the last 15 years, beating the missionary companies Rosamonte, La Cachuera and Nobleza Gaucha, who usually alternate on the podium. Misiones is a large producer of green leaves, nearly 90 percent of the total, and in Corrientes the two leading yerba industries have to supply themselves with raw materials that they “import” from the so-called from the red earth.

For his part, the head of the INYM and Secretary of Agriculture, Juan José Bajillo, responded to the criticism, noting that the only thing the herbalist award does is. White out the actual cost paid for a kilo of green leaf when delivered to the dryers, which is about 65 pesos today.

“It would be good if the production minister of Corrientes is worried about the weakest link in the chain, which is the manufacturer,” Szczowski said. A kilogram of yerba mate in the Buenos Aires gondola is about 600 pesos today, and the increase this year has been out of step with inflation, an industrialist said. ღ.

Last year, the domestic market sales record was broken with 283 million kilograms, almost 60% in the half-kilogram package, which is the most popular format (more than 300 million packages).

According to domestic market data, more than 1 million packages of yerba mate per day are shipped to Argentine households from industries in Misiones, Corrientes, Córdoba and Rosario. Sales are stagnant this year, and according to January-August figures (190 million kilograms), they will barely match 2021. For industrialists and the INYM, per capita consumption of yerba mate is declining and this is cause for alarm. in the sector.

Source: La Nacion