Argentina’s Government, caught in a scramble to lower the nation’s soaring beef prices, is set to strike a deal to freeze fish prices, local press reported yesterday (20 March).

The move comes as President Nestor Kirchner convinced pork producers to fix prices at ARS4 (US$1.3) for one year to boost pig consumption and drive down beef prices. That followed a presidential order to halt beef exports for 180 days on 9 March.

Meanwhile, consumer lobby group Deuco said yesterday that beef prices continue to climb. Average per-kilo prices have risen 1.5% in the past 10 days, it noted.

Using the catchphrase “if meat prices don’t fall, don’t buy,” Argentina last week launched a major ad campaign to coax Argentines to swap red meat for fish, pork and vegetables.

Argentina is one of the world’s top beef consumers.