Argentina aims to export $100 bln in grain by 2020

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 6, 2011 (AFP) - Argentina hopes to produce 160 million tons of grain, amounting to $100 billion in exports, by 2020, according to a strategic plan announced by President Cristina Kirchner late Monday.

The South American country -- one of the biggest food exporters in the world -- would need to increase grain production by 50 percent over the next nine years to meet the goal.

"In 2020 we will produce more than 160 million tons of grain thanks to technological and scientific advances," Kirchner told an audience of around 2,000 people.

She said the plan would require expanding the area of grain production from 34 million to 42 million hectares (84 million to 100 million acres).

The plan has been developed by representatives from 23 provinces, 53 universities, agricultural schools, business associations, producers and family farmers, officials said.

Argentina is the second largest exporter of corn, the third largest export of soybeans and the fourth largest exporter of wheat.

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