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Argentina Soybean Plant Fire Underscores Growing Frustrations

As grain transportation grinds to a halt and frustrations mount in the South American grain producing countries of Argentina and Brazil, a soybean processing facility was set on fire by assailants who significantly damaged the facility’s quality control office – as well as, burned vehicles and processing equipment. Protesters delayed firefighters deployed to the site, and reports indicate that full capacity of the facility will not be restored for up to a month.

The incident underscores the increasing frustrations in the grain industries of Brazil and Argentina primarily due to recession, rising inflation, tax structures, transportation costs, and falling commodity prices.

The fire follows the announcement of another strike similar to those ongoing in Brazil at the port of Rosario, Argentina. Recently dockworkers and boat captains have been protesting low wages. Reports now indicate that 1,500 trucks are still waiting to unload grain at the Louis Dreyfus Commodities soybean processing plant at the town of Santa Fe General Lagos southeast of the Rosario port due to the repercussions of these attacks.

These developments come at a particularly inopportune time for the South American soybean industry, where the bumper soy harvest is still in its late stages. Many farmers are harvesting 15% to 20% more soybeans than usual and any issues, with transportation or otherwise, at this time could cause widespread ramifications to the entire system.

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