BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA — Argentina’s grain and oilseeds export revenue in January fell 61% compared to January 2022 as a prolonged drought continues to hamper the country’s agricultural sector, according to the Centro de Exportadores de Cereales (CIARA-CEC).

CIARA-CEC said exports totaled $928.37 million in the first month of the year, which was down 75% over the previous month.

Argentine farming has been strained for three consecutive years by the La Niña weather phenomenon, which for the 2022-23 season caused a significant drop in rainfall. It has delayed corn and soybean planting and cut wheat production in half.

The decline in agricultural export revenue comes at a time when Argentina’s economy is in a deep recession. Inflation reached nearly 100% late in 2022, the highest point in 32 years and the country’s currency has weakened dramatically over the past year.

According to the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture, Argentina is forecast to export 5.7 million tonnes of soybeans in 2022-23, far below its peak of 10 million tonnes several years ago. Wheat production this year is projected at just 12.5 million tonnes, far  below the record crop of 22.1 million tonnes in 2021-22, with exports expected to reach only 7.5 million tonnes, less than half of the 2021-22 record total.