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Argentina declares flood emergency in six key farm provinces

Buenos Aires | Reuters — Six of Argentina’s main farm provinces were declared flood emergency areas by the government on Friday, making special credit lines and tax breaks available to affected growers in the soy- and corn-exporting powerhouse.

The resolution, announced in the government’s morning gazette, covers the provinces of Cordoba, Santa Fe, Entre Rios, Chaco, La Rioja and Corrientes.

Argentina’s top grains producing province of Buenos Aires was not included in the emergency, but floods were reported there as well.

This year’s El Niño weather pattern, which causes global climate extremes, has worsened floods in some parts of South America, including Argentina. In other areas, such as Colombia, it has brought drought.

Argentina is the world’s top supplier of soymeal livestock feed, third biggest supplier of raw soybeans and No. 4 corn exporter. Fruit growers and cattle ranchers were also covered by the emergency resolution.

Meteorologist Anthony Deane of consultancy Weather Wise Argentina said key grains production areas in southeast Cordoba, southern Santa Fe and northwest Buenos Aires are suffering from too much ground moisture to outright flooding.

“The question is how much rain is going to keep falling,” Deane said. “I expect 100 to 130 millimetres to fall over the next 10 days in these three areas, which is more than what has been the normal rate over the last five years. So the situation is going to get worse before it gets better.”

Hugh Bronstein is a commodities and political correspondent for Reuters in Buenos Aires.

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