A Snapshot of Uruguay Agricultural Opportunites

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Uruguay is one of the most reliable countries for doing business in one of the world’s leading economically attractive regions.
A solid track record and its high potential to improve and develop regional business are just some of the reasons why
global and regional companies choose Uruguay as a hub.

Agribusiness

Uruguay offers attractive investment opportunities in several sectors, including dairy, meat, grains, oilseeds, fruit and wool. These industries are highly competitive and export-oriented, with access to the most demanding markets.

Meat

Uruguay has a well-established reputation for high-quality meat production and export, with 80% of production being exported to over 100 countries. Key markets include China, the United States, and the European Union.

Dairy

The dairy industry in Uruguay is also thriving, with increasing productivity per hectare and per cow. Over the past decade, total production has grown by more than 30%.

Grains & Oilseeds

Uruguay’s rice sector boasts the highest levels of technological incorporation globally and one of the highest yields per hectare. A remarkable 94% of production is exported. Soybean production has experienced significant growth in Uruguay, which is emerging as a serious exporting nation. China is the primary destination for Uruguayan soybeans.

Overall, Uruguay offers a variety of investment opportunities across multiple sectors, each with a competitive edge and strong potential for success in global markets.

  • Natural resource availability and production factors give Uruguay comparative advantages in producing food products. With more than 90% of its land suitable for agricultural activity, Uruguay is a reliable global supplier of food and agricultural products.
  • The agricultural sector accounts for 6% to 7% of GDP in Uruguay (2015-2019). When including the associated sub-sectors and industries, it is usually referred to as the agro-industrial sector and its share ranges from 14% to 16% of GDP (2015-2019). 
  • In the 2021-2022 season, the total cultivated area increased by 14% year-on-year. As a result, agricultural land reached 94% of its all-time high, mainly due to the momentum of soybeans, the growth of rapeseed (which doubled its planted area in the last two years) and the expansion of barley, with smaller contributions from rice (which began to recover area) and corn.
  • The agro-industrial sector employed approximately 210,000 people (2021), accounting for 13% of the country’s employed population. Agriculture was responsible for 80,100 jobs, including the industry associated with the sector.
  • In October 2020, a new regulation of the Investment Law (No. 16,906) came into force, positively impacting the number of projects and investment amounts submitted, changing the decreasing trend of previous years. In fact, projects linked to the agro-industrial sector increased from an average of 60 between 2015 and 2019 to more than 500 projects in 2021.
  • Agro-industrial exports accounted for 80% of total exports of goods in 2021, reaching USD 9,070 million and registering a 39% increase in the year-on-year comparison. Within these, agricultural goods totalled USD 2,415 million, a 21% increase. Soybeans, wheat, and unprocessed barley were the main products positively impacting external sales in 2021.
  • The increase in reference agricultural prices in the international market is decisive for a further increase in surface area in the 2022-2023 season.

Source: Uruguay XXI

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