Farm land sales in Uruguay last year reached an all time high 1.3 Billion Dollars
Farm land sales in Uruguay totaled a record 1.3bn dollars in 2013, involving 1.868 sales of 370.927 ha, which is up 10% on 2012, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food ministry’s Stats Office, DIEA. Uruguay’s farmland covers approximately 17 million hectares.
According to DIEA the average hectare price was also record last year: $3,519 dollars compared to $3,473 dollars the previous year. The 1.3bn dollars, and number of sales last year, finished with the 2008 record of 1.26bn dollars and represented far less sales compared to the 2,959 of 2008 and also involved half the hectares of 2012, 684,000.
The majority of sales, 69% were farms in the range of 10 to 100 hectares, while 34% involved areas larger than 2.000 hectares.
In the last fourteen years according to DIEA, 7,486,000 hectares of farmland in Uruguay changed hands which is equivalent to 44% of the total area. The number of operations reached 32,492 and the sum involved, 10.365 billion dollars.
From 2002 when the lowest average price for a hectare of farmland, 385 dollars to 2013, the value of land increased nine-fold. The period 2003/2008 was the most intense as far as land areas sold, averaging 760.000 hectares annually, but ”as of 2009 there is a descent of 55%, with the average annual area changing hands 350.000, similar to the 2002 average.
Three provinces had the most land sales, 33% and 29%, (124.172 hectares and 384 million dollars respectively) during 2013 and they were Tacuarembó, Lavalleja and Rivera. However this was exception since the Chilean-Brazilian-Finnish group, Montes del Plata, which is building a pulp mill along the shore of the River Plate expected to be inaugurated later this year, sold its land holdings of 45.000 hectares in Rivera and Tacuarembó for which it collected 140 million dollars, to a US pensions’ fund.
However the most expensive farmland is not in any of those three counties but in Soriano which produces the most crops. The average sale price in Soriano for a hectare was $6,565 US dollars, followed by neighboring Colonia and San Jose with $6,079 US and $5,974 US dollars respectively. This area to the southwest of Uruguay has high-yield crops and dairy farming.
2014 looks to be starting off as another record year for farm sales to foreigners with El Tejar selling its Uruguayan farms to UAG ( another agro fund). That agreement will allow for the incorporation of the 67,000 hectares of cropping land giving UAG a total of 170,000 hectares, equivalent to three times the size of the province of Montevideo.
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