UPDATE 2-Argentina to revamp wheat export system

jueves 5 de enero de 2012 22:31 ART

* Wheat farmers win change to reviled export quotas

* Gov't says 7 mln tonnes needed for domestic market

* New system will launch in late January, corn revamp next (Adds comment from industry group official, plans to change corn quotas, details)

By Juliana Castilla

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Argentina will reform its unpopular wheat export system, scrapping incremental quotas to try to improve prices for farmers by boosting competition in the local market, the agriculture minister said on Thursday.

The government intervenes in wheat and corn trade now by granting export permits bit by bit and subsidizing local millers. This is aimed at guaranteeing affordable food supplies in high-inflation Argentina, a major global grains exporter.

Officials also set reference prices for crops, but farmers say buyers ignore these and pay less due to restricted demand.

The new scheme will keep a cap on total exports to ensure sufficient domestic grain supplies, but it will eliminate the gradual quota system to give farmers more control over sales.

"The agreement basically is to set aside the 7 million tonnes that Argentina needs ... and all the rest will be at farmers' complete disposition to sell however they like," Agriculture Minister Norberto Yauhar told reporters after meeting with wheat industry officials.   Continuación...