Uruguay identifies cross-ministerial collaboration as key in its National Bioeconomy Strategy


An inception workshop to develop Uruguay’s National Bioeconomy Strategy took place in Montevideo on 4 April 2019.

The multi-stakeholder group of participants represented several government ministries interested in both the National Bioeconomy Strategy and the development of the country’s circular economy.

The aim of the workshop was to discuss strategy objectives for Uruguay’s nascent bioeconomy strategy and to carry out a needs assessment so participants could work on a roadmap combining the two complementary processes.

“We made very good progress and we have identified an exciting set of activities for the next months and years” said Walter Oyhantcabal from the the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries.

Strengthening cross-ministerial collaboration

The preliminary results from the needs assessment showed that strengthening cross-ministerial collaboration and aligning common sectoral aims was a top priority. This will start with an exercise to map all existing bioeconomy-relevant policies across Uruguay’s policy landscape. FAO will support the assessment of these policies based on their ability to incentivize or disincentivize bioeconomy implementation.

Other objectives to be included in the strategy include securing and creating employment and value added and conservation and efficient use of ecosystem services.

Learning from practice

Bioeconomy in Uruguay embraces primary production, the creation of new organic matter by plants and other organisms, human and animal health, bio-based product manufacturing, biofuels and biomaterials, and biochemistry.

Prior to the workshop the participants were taken to two innovative circular bioeconomy projects, jointly implemented by three Ministries - the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mining, and the Ministry of Environment. The aim of these initiatives is to run activities valorizing residues and testing alternative technologies co-financed by the private sector.

The first project used liquid sewage from a family farm to generate electricity through a process of anaerobic digestion and to create biofertilizer, ensuring sustainable pasture management.

The milking sessions are scheduled enabling the farm to use a smart tariff with the national electricity company, while also ensuring that what the cows eat is 60% pasture.

In the words of the farm’s owner Pablo Pérez “las vacas son las reinas del tambo en estos sistemas circulares” (cows are the stars of these circular systems).

The second project the group visited was a company that produces compost and organic mineral fertilizers in the form of pellets using residues from slaughterhouses, feedlots, fruit and vegetable packers and oilseed industries.

Uruguay’s National Development Strategy 2050

Uruguay´s strategic focus on bioeconomy is anchored in the National Development Strategy 2050 developed by the National Planning Office. One of the five thematic areas of the Strategy 2050 is the ‘the transformation of the productive matrix’ in which the bioeconomy and the digital economy are the major drivers of transformation.

Next steps

FAO’s bioeconomy team will continue to support Uruguay as its National Bioeconomy Strategy takes shape. As part of the ongoing consultative process over the next six months, the workshop in November will be a chance to present and discuss the results of last month’s workshop.

“The collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture in Uruguay, the inter-ministerial bioeconomy working group,  and the representation of FAO in Uruguay was exemplary” commented FAO’s Natural Resources Officer Anne Bogdanski.

“We are very happy with the outcome of the workshop and look to forward to continuing our work together on this project.”

She stated at the close of the workshop.


Through the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, Uruguay has been a member of the International Sustainable Bioeconomy Working Group (ISBWG) since 2017. 

For further information:

Workshop video

Workshop photos

FAO’s global bioeconomy project