Love life flagging? Then try pork, like the president

They won't be swapping their bottles of Chimichurri for jars of mustard and apple sauce quite yet, and they can still wash dinner down with a nice Malbec, but the people of Argentina are being asked to experiment with a new addition to the national diet: pork.

In response to a beef shortage which means her country will soon have fewer cows than people for the first time in living memory, Argentina's President Cristina Fernández has launched a bold campaign to persuade the nation that pig meat is "sexy".

She has given a speech touting pork as a cheap alternative to Viagra – and suggesting that she had personal experience. "I didn't know that eating pork improved sexual activity, [but] it is much more gratifying to eat some grilled pork than to take Viagra," she said at a meeting on Thursday where she unveiled new subsidies to representatives of the swine industry.

Tucking into a pork chop with her husband, former president Néstor Kirchner, Ms Fernández raised an eyebrow and declared that it was "all good", adding that rumours of the meat's aphrodisiac qualities "might be right".

Her comments have sparked a heated debate in a country where a typical consumer eats beef every day, getting through 165lbs (or slightly more than their body weight) in ribs, steak, and beef sausages a year. Something certainly has to be done to protect Argentina's beef stocks from collapse: a long-running drought has made it harder for some ranchers to fatten cows for slaughter, while populist laws fixing beef prices have persuaded others to quit the cattle business.

*Argentina Central Bank’s chief Martin Redrado has resigned after refusing the President’s decree to spend reserves.