Argentina: Agricultural Industry
One of Argentina’s most important economic sectors is agriculture, with seven percent of the country’s GDP deriving from its production of beef, wine, soy, wheat, and other cereals. Faced with the effects of a changing climate, farmers need to cope with decreasing rainfall, a long-term drought, rising temperatures, and extreme weather events that are projected to negatively impact the country’s GDP between 3 to 17 percent in the near term. In light of this, the agriculture sector is seeking to adapt and incorporate new technologies to improve irrigation and water conservation efforts.
Argentina boasts over 39 million hectares (96 million acres) of land cultivated for ranching and farming, with the number expected to continue to grow. However, the percentage of these lands with some form of irrigation system is only 5 percent (or approximately 5 million acres). The cultivated areas of the country are divided in three zones: arid (52.2 percent), semi-arid (18.1 percent), and humid (27.7 percent), with both the arid and semi-arid zones having the potential to extend the agricultural frontier.
Irrigation systems currently in use vary according to the regions and type of agricultural production. Examples range from moat, ditch, or furrow as well as pressurized water systems including drip, micro-sprinkler, and mechanized pivots. Seventy two percent of water utilized is surface water with the rest being drawn from 40 underground water basins across the country.
U.S. companies that provide cost-effective irrigation systems as well as water technology solutions that can maximize the efficient storage, use, and re-use of water (e.g., wastewater) should consider exploring the burgeoning opportunities in this market. By demonstrating effectiveness in crop resiliency as well as long-term potential cost savings, U.S. solutions can be attractive to Argentine producers.
It is recommended that U.S. companies work through an Argentine partner that can qualify leads and assist in the complicated logistics of importing products into the country. Since water access and usage regulations and requirements can differ between the country’s 25 provinces, a local partner is useful in navigating local conditions.