What are the agricultural sectors that exported the most and least during 2021

Agricultural exports were decisive in 2021, as foreign currency entered the country. Soy was the main contributor.

In recent weeks, different public and private reports have shown with data that 2021 was a record year for agricultural exports, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions applied by the Government of Alberto Fernández to the external marketing of beef. Despite this, agribusiness has played a preponderant role with the contribution of more than 70% of the foreign currency that entered the country during the past year.

It must be remembered that this week the INDEC reported that 2021 exports were the highest since 2012: last year they entered USD 77,934 million, where Primary Products and Manufactures of Industrial Origin invoiced USD 52,779 million, a 39% increase year-on-year, they represented 68% of the total remitted and reached the largest flow of agro-industrial exports in history.

Now, a report from Argentine Agroindustrial Council (CAA), the space made up of more than 60 entities, reflected that 34 agribusiness chains contributed USD 51,223.6 million last year, representing a 27.6% increase compared to 2020. The survey analyzed the export behavior of the different production chains and determined that there is a single item that stands out from the rest and grows year after year, such as soy. The rest of the sectors do it more slowly, are slowed down or even fell back compared to the previous year.

When disaggregating the data from the Agroindustrial Council, it is observed that the main agricultural productions of our country (soy, corn and wheat) represented 71% of the total exported, while the livestock complexes (meat, dairy, leather) participated with just over 8%. A large part of our country’s exports of agricultural origin are explained by the soybean complex, which during 2021 exported USD 23,719 million, that is, 46.3% of the total exported by agribusiness. And in volume, shipments of soybean meal or pellets (the country’s main exportable product) rose 15.5% from one year to the next. And the set of positions linked to the chain no less than 55%.

Details of agro-industrial exports.  (Argentine Agroindustrial Council)
Details of agro-industrial exports. (Argentine Agroindustrial Council)

According to the same report, corn during 2021 sold abroad for USD 9,285 million, and had a share of 18.1% of the total exported. And on the wheat side, the cereal reported a total income of USD 3,355 million in the mentioned year, with 6.5 of the total participation.

other productions

In the private study, they appear in red, which are those sectors that have had the least variation between one year and the other, regional economies such as garlic, of vital importance for the province of Mendoza, with a decrease in its exports in 2021 19% year-on-year. Foreign sales of alfalfa (-23%), blueberries (-16%), lemons (-9%), pigs (-18%), yerba mate (-12%) among others also fell.

In addition, last year there was a 9% decrease in lemon exports, which were almost 40,000 tons less, and on the other hand, the marketing of pears, apples, chickpeas and peanuts to the world appears with poor results.

More details of agricultural exports in 2021. (Argentine Agroindustrial Council)
More details of agricultural exports in 2021. (Argentine Agroindustrial Council)

Another item that is described in the report of the Agroindustrial Council, is the rancher in general. This sector experienced a very particular 2021 with the closures and restrictions on meat exports established by the National Government for a good part of the analyzed period and that still maintains restrictions for some segments until December 31 of next year.

If the consolidated cattle rancher is added, it participated with 8.35% of what was exported, for a little more than USD 4,200 million, of which beef and hides accounted for 6.2%, contributing USD 3,155 million, while dairy products accounted for USD 1,121 million.


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