Project presented to declare agricultural emergency following invasion of destructive corn pest

In response to the corn leafhopper outbreak, national deputies Luis Picat and Martin Ardohain have presented a project to declare an agricultural emergency. This pest, which is transmitted by Spiroplasma kunkeli bacteria, is causing significant damage to cereal crops in provinces such as Santiago del Estero, Chaco, Catamarca, Tucumán, Salta, Córdoba, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, and La Pampa.

The project aims to provide relief to affected farmers by exempting them from income tax payments. Additionally, it calls for zoning of affected areas using satellite imagery to better understand the scope of the problem. The National Government and provincial governments must work together to reduce the impact of this pest on agriculture.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries along with technical teams from the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) are tasked with developing management protocols for producers based on regional differences. The spread of the disease to new provinces like Córdoba, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos and La Pampa has raised concerns due to its significant impact on corn crops.

According to experts, this year has seen an unusually high population of leafhoppers in Argentina’s agricultural regions. The Buenos Aires Cereal Exchange has already reduced the corn harvest forecast due to the damage caused by the leafhopper and heat waves. Producers estimate even greater losses than projected.

The affected regions include central Santa Fe and western Entre Ríos where severe outbreaks have led to significant production losses. Despite its small size, the corn leafhopper is a persistent carrier of Spiroplasma kunkelii bacteria causing recurrent diseases in agricultural regions.

Overall, this project emphasizes coordinated efforts between national and provincial governments as well as technical teams to address the agricultural emergency caused by the corn leafhopper outbreak in affected provinces.

By Samantha Johnson

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