Argentina operates 45 soybean oil production plants, according to a report by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The soybean industry encompasses both the primary sector and the manufacturing sector, and is strongly export-oriented.
Although at the primary production level there is a high number of producers, a small number of these account for about 50% of the production in Argentina.
The industrialization of this product mainly includes the production of soybean oils, flours and pellets, and biodiesel.
More than anything, the production of soybeans is destined for industrialization: 84% is used for the production of oil, flour and pellets.
Export rights for soybeans, flours and oils
The soybean oil production plants belong to 31 companies, with an installed milling capacity of about 60 million tons per year (2018).
Several of these companies also carry out primary activities, and most of them have grain storage plants and their own port terminals, for the commercialization and export of grains, oils and flours.
According to the WTO, the soybean industry constitutes Argentina’s main export chain, representing a quarter of total exports.
Argentina is the third world exporter of soybeans and the first exporter of soybean oil and flour.
Of the total production of crude soybean oil, 60% is destined for export, the rest is destined to the production of biodiesel and to refining.
Likewise, the residues or by-products of the oil industry, which mainly consist of protein flours and cakes, are processed and transformed into pellets for the production of food for animal consumption, and the vast majority (almost 90%) are exported.
Soy is the main oilseed cultivated in Argentina, representing in 2020, almost 92% of the production of this type of crop.
In the last three seasons, soybeans have ranked second in grain production, and its production volume reached 51 million tons as an annual average between 2016 and 2020.
32.6% of the production is carried out in the province of Buenos Aires, followed by Córdoba (28.8%), and by Santa Fe (18.0%), Entre Ríos (5.8%) and Santiago del Estero (5.2%).
The employment data registered for the third quarter of 2020, show that some 64,000 people are employed for the cultivation of cereals, oilseeds and forage crops and some 22,000 for the production of oils and fats of vegetable origin.