2010 agribusiness exports set a new record by growing 16.7% over the previous year with sales reaching a total of U.S. $ 4,456.4 million. In turn, the Agriculture Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow this year by 1.8% and is expected to evolve in 2011 by 4.7%, according to the Yearbook of the Oficina de Programación y Política agropecuaria (OPYPA).
These figures show that Uruguay was able to overcome an extremely negative international environment and a severe drought in 2008/2009. This was achieved with a sustained impact on innovation that increased productivity in most sectors.
This year´s 1.8% growth was mainly driven by agriculture and forestry, while the livestock sector would experience some stalling, although this does not mean a regress. Next year would resume growth at 4.7%. It is also expected that the global economy and especially international agricultural markets will continue to recover, so that the international prices of commodities will remain high.
Soy, that continues to have an unstoppable growth, made the greatest contribution to this year’s record agro industrial exports (usd $ 701 million), registering an exponential growth as has been happening for several years.
This figures were also possible due to the sales dynamism of dairy products (U.S. $ 517 million) and forest-based products (U.S. $ 522.5 million), representing these three items altogether a 80% of the agricultural exports growth.
Soy, milk and rice, which imposed a strong impetus to agro-industrial exports this year, in the year 2000 represented less than 20% of the sector’s exports, while in 2010 amounted to almost 40%.
Despite the fall in the wheat cropped area, the 2011 harvest will leave a significant exportable surplus. In 2010 the crop again reached a new record, surpassing by 36% the previous year and generating a strong exports. They rose by 1.8 million tones, representing nearly 500,000 tones more than expected and largely beyond the country’s consumption needs.
The wheat exports reached in November 2009 and October 2010 – its highest ever level of 1.37 million tons, 41% above the 970,000 tones exported in the previous 12 months. The total value of exports reached usd 304 million -26% over the previous year’s record-with an average FOB price of usd 221/ton.
This year beef foreign trade earnings will be similar to the record set in 2008. According to the National Meat Institute (INAC), all shipments of meat products generated a growth of 13% over the same period in 2009.
By December 18 usd 1312.9 million were traded for beef, so that by the end of the year it will be more than usd 1,4 billion, close to the maximum record achieved in 2008 with usd 1,5 billion, well above of usd 1,2 billion during 2009.
As for sheep meat (6% of the meat business abroad) 18,970 tons were sent in 11 ½ months of this year at an average of usd 3,931, down from 38% in volume and 3 % achieved in terms of foreign exchange this year over 2009.