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Argentina’s historic drought

Argentina’s historic drought

climate change

A farmer walks past a cow that died from the drought in Argentina. Photo credit: Reuters / Agustin Marcarian

By Anders Lorenzen 

Argentina is currently going through the worst drought in 60 years.

Its hugely important agricultural sector, the grain industry in particular, is being hit hard by the long-running drought which started in May last year and has almost halved wheat output and hampered the production of soybean and corn crops. The country is already being battered by a broader economic slump causing sky-high inflation and weakening the local currency.

Agricultural woes

Argentina is the world’s leading exporter of soybean oil and meal, the third largest exporter of corn and a major global wheat supplier. Its wheat production has risen in significance after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which has caused major disruptions and spikes in prices and is a key reason for the cost of living crisis.

The Argentinian government has said it’s working with farmers to assist those struggling with dry soil conditions. However, they have underlined that a shared effort must be made between the government and farm sector leaders.

There’s some good news on the horizon for farmers though, as the drought conditions are forecast to ease in the coming weeks and wetter weather is forecast. However it may get worse before it gets better as the third full week of January will be the 4th hottest and one of the driest in 30+ years for the major growing regions of Argentina.

Climate models indicate that Argentina and many other countries in South America are at the forefront of climate impacts which are set to intensify in the coming years. Argentina’s economy is heavily reliant on agriculture and this extreme weather event is another example of how the economy is heavily vulnerable to climate impacts.

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