Yerba Mate News Round-Up: Argentina Crisis Update

argentina map

Argentina’s Yerba Mate Crisis Continues…

The world of yerba mate in Argentina has been dominated these past few months by scenes of unrest. This week producers have taken their protests to a new level by gathering in Argentina’s capital to distribute thirty thousand free bags of yerba to the public. Two of the national production routes, numbers 12 and 14, have also suffered disruption and picketing. Farmers in Misiones are calling it a scandal that shops sell their product for around 60 pesos per bag when they receive a mere 2 pesos from industrialists per kilogram of fresh leaf. President Mauricio Marcri was even handed a small packet of yerba during a recent congressional address by way of protest.

A combination of falling exports, domestic overstocks, and a failure to guarantee minimum pricing by central government, have all lead to frustration in recent times. Leaders of the movement are calling for the resignation of the heads of the Yerba Mate Institute (INYM), whose agreed price of 5.10 Pesos per kilo is, according to farmers, well below the cost of production. This is not the view of Minister of Agriculture and Production, Jose Luis Gara Leay, who believes the INYM’s independence and institutionality needs to be preserved. The INYM have proposed shortening the length of harvests by around 20%, as well as the suspension of new yerba plantations for at least 2 years, in an attempt to deal with the growing overstocks.

Meanwhile the INYM are desperate to revamp exports of Argentine yerba, and are heavily promoting it to new markets across Europe and Asia. A widespread domestic campaign to encourage the consumption of tererê amongst Argentines during the hotter months is also underway across the country.

yerba mate plant growing

Obviously here at UruShop we are concerned about the ongoing situation in Argentina and what it might mean in the long-term for Argentine yerba mate. The good news appears to be that there is still plenty of yerba to go around, and that the Argentine government are very keen to promote its export. It is also worth pointing out that situations like this have occurred in the past and have been resolved. We will do our best to monitor developments over the coming weeks, and will keep you updated via the blog with future news bulletins.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Outside of South America the United States is now the fourth biggest purchaser of yerba mate, with only Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan importing larger quantities. Other growing markets include Austria, England, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Japan, South Korea, China, France, Spain, and Italy. One driving factor is said to be the large number of Argentines, Uruguayans and Brazilians living around the world, and celebrities from these countries are really fuelling the trend. Well known famous mate drinkers include the footballers Luis Saurez and Lionel Messi, as well as Pope Francis.

Sources: (English Version) (English Version)[/vc_column_text] (English Version) (English Version) (English Version) (English Version)