By Walter Bianchi
BUENOS AIRES, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Argentina will prioritize international sales of corn to make sure crops already harvested are exported before sales can be registered for next season's crop, which is being planted, an Agriculture Ministry source told Reuters on Monday.
Farmers called the move an unnecessary intervention in the market that could put downward pressure on 2021-2022 corn sowing. The South American country is the world's No. 2 corn exporter.
Of the 55 million tonnes of corn expected by the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange to be harvested next season, 38.5 million have been sold, said the government source, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
"An order of priorities has been established over export declarations. Priority will be given to exporters who have corn purchased and cargo ships assigned," the ministry source said.
"We have five months to go before the harvest starts and 38.5 million tonnes in exports declarations have already been registered," the source added.
Santiago del Solar, a farmer in the breadbasket province of Buenos Aires, said the new export policy seemed aimed at curbing domestic food price increases ahead of the November congressional election and "will destroy trust and confidence from farmers."
"The cost of fertilizers has gone up, the weather is very dry and at the same time they are telling us it will be very difficult to sell our corn abroad, so we will have to sell in the domestic market. This is not good for farmers who are making planting decisions right now," del Solar said.
Fellow Buenos Aires grower Pablo Ginestet said higher costs, including fertilizer prices, have spurred more farmers to sell corn in the futures market.
"Costs are much higher and this kind of market intervention generates a lot of distrust," said Ginestet, who is an official with the local CARBAP farmers union.
(Reporting by Walter Bianchi, writing by Hugh Bronstein. Editing by Gerry Doyle)
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