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

In recent years, a severe agricultural emergency has arisen in several provinces of Argentina due to the outbreak of the corn leafhopper, a pest that carries the deadly Spiroplasma kunkeli bacteria. This disease is affecting regions such as Santiago del Estero, Chaco, Catamarca, Tucumán, Salta, Córdoba, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, and La Pampa. The project presented by national deputies Luis Picat and Martin Ardohain aims to address this crisis by providing tax benefits to affected farmers.

The project proposes payment exemptions for income tax to help alleviate financial strain on farmers who have been severely impacted by the pest. Additionally, it recommends zoning using satellite images to determine the affected areas accurately. This will enable targeted assistance and reduce the spread of the disease to other regions.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries along with technical teams from the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) are requested to establish management protocols for producers based on regional differences. The spread of the disease to new provinces such as 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 unprecedented population of leafhoppers in the last decade. The Buenos Aires Cereal Exchange has already reduced the corn harvest forecast due to damage caused by leafhoppers and heat waves. Producers estimate even greater losses than projected.

The affected regions include central Santa Fe, northeast Córdoba 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.

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By Riley Johnson

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