Farm group Los Grobo eyes fresh Argentine investment

Chairman of the Los Grobo group, Gustavo Grobocopatel, answers questions during an interview in Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 10, 2016. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Latin American farming production and services group Los Grobo is looking to invest $100 million in Argentina in coming years, encouraged by new market-friendly government policies, the company president said on Wednesday.

“We are investing in research and development, in chemicals as well as agriculture items like seeds and services,” Gustavo Grobocopatel said at a Reuters Summit on Argentina.

President Mauricio Macri ended years of tension between the farm sector and the state when he took office in December. Spurred by tax cuts and Macri’s open market policies, wheat and corn planting has increased.

That has made agriculture one of the few bright spots in an economy that is struggling and expected to end the year in recession.

Los Grobo, which is based in Argentina, forecasts a 14 percent rise in the country’s grain production this year to 120 million tonnes, rising to 150 million in the next two or three years.

Argentina is the world’s No. 3 exporter of corn and soybeans, as well as its top supplier of soymeal livestock feed. A dramatic increase in Argentine production could put downward pressure on world food prices.

Sales of agricultural machinery, harvesters and trucks were all up, Grobocopatel said.

“The business climate in the farming sector is very enthusiastic,” he said.

Reporting by Maximilian Heath, Writing by Rosalba O’Brien; Editing by Tom Brown