Beef farmers in Argentina have staged a week-long strike against increasing government intervention. Export bans, rising export duties and price controls dented the sector’s profitability in 2006, they claim.

Moreover, associations representing the farmers have threatened fresh strikes in 2007 should the government policy continue.

Limits on exports of beef, wheat and now corn were imposed in a bid to rein in inflation, which doubled to 12.3% in 2005 from one year earlier. Consumer prices are expected to have hit 10% in 2006.

Government interference is meant to insulate Argentines from rising food costs.

Analysts expect the government of president Nestor Kirchner to keep meddling with food prices until presidential elections take place in Argentina in October 2007.