Agribusiness boosted Uruguay's growth over the last decade

The sector was one of the main engines of growth in Uruguay in the last decade, driven by a favorable international context and the arrival of investments. The new Uruguay XXI’s Agribusiness report predicts a positive performance in a large part of the products of the sector, consolidating the country as a quality food provider for the most demanding markets in the world.
Publication date: 26/04/2018

Uruguay is part of the main food export region, its production supplies 28 million people and is expected to reach 50 million in the coming years. It has 16.4 million hectares for agricultural use, more than 90% of the country's surface, and the land has been substantially valued, multiplying its price by ten in the last 15 years, according to the new Agribusiness report presented by Uruguay XXI’s Competitive Intelligence Department.

In this favorable context, the agro-industrial sector accounted for 79% of the country's total exports in 2017 and represented an important growth in the last decade, particularly in the agriculture, livestock, hunting and forestry’s GDP, which showed an annual average growth of 2.3% between 2002 and 2016.

In 2017, agroindustrial sales were around US $ 7,176 million, consolidating beef as the main export product, followed by pulp and soybeans. While, specifically analyzing food exports, US $ 4,955 million were reached in that year, with beef, soy, dairy and rice as the main exports.

Beef has traditionally been Uruguay's main export product, reaching nearly 50 markets and making the country one of the top ten exporters of this product in the world.

The livestock of the country is valued for its sustainable production, with animals that live outdoors and feed on natural pastures. The excellent reputation of Uruguayan meat worldwide is also based on its traceability system, applied by law to 100% of livestock, and that allows knowing all the information of the product, from the birth of the animal until its arrival to the consumer, certifying its quality and safety. Uruguay also stands out for applying traceability systems to the production of poultry meat, honey, citrus fruits and vineyards.

The country is also among the six main exporters of soybeans in the world, while rice was in 2017 the second export agricultural product with a value of US $ 448 million. In 2016 Uruguay ranked ninth in exports of this product worldwide, being also the main exporter in Latin America.

Meanwhile, the income of Foreign Direct Investment to the agricultural and agro industrial sector of the country grew as a result of the increase in the international price of commodities in the last decade, the adequate business climate and the significant advantage of Uruguay in the production of intensive goods in the use of the land.

Forest Direct Investment accumulated in the food processing industry amounted to US $ 602 million between 2002 and 2016, while by sector, particularly in the case of agriculture, livestock, forestry and fishing, reached US $ 3,915 million in the same period .