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Country Briefs

  Uruguay

Reference Date: 28-October-2021

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Cereal production in 2021 anticipated well above average

  2. Planting of 2022 paddy and maize crops ongoing

  3. Cereal exports in 2021/22 marketing year forecast at high levels

  4. Cereal prices on steady rise and very high levels in September 2021

Cereal production in 2021 anticipated well above average

Harvesting of the 2021 wheat and barley crops will start in November and production prospects are generally favourable. Planted area with the wheat crop is officially estimated at 237 000 hectares, about 10 percent above the previous five‑year average, instigated by high price levels. Similarly, barley sowings are estimated at record highs. Vegetation conditions are favourable (NDVI Anomaly map) in the producing western area, supported by adequate rainfall amounts in the April to September period.

Production of the 2021 paddy crop is officially estimated at an average level of 1.3 million tonnes. This is due to above‑average yields that more than offset a contraction in plantings. Planted area with paddy has been declining since 2011 due to low financial gains for farmers. The 2021 maize crop is officially estimated at 770 000 tonnes, 35 percent higher than the average, mainly reflecting large sowings.

The 2021 aggregate cereal output is anticipated at 4.1 million tonnes, about 20 percent above the five‑year average.

Planting of 2022 paddy and maize crops ongoing

Planting operations of the 2022 paddy and maize crops are ongoing. The producers’ rice association of forecasts that the 2022 planted area will increase to an above‑average level of 165 000 hectares due to high prices of the grain and adequate irrigation water in most reservoirs. Planted area with maize is also forecast at an above‑average level as elevated prices have encouraged farmers to expand the area sown. Weather forecasts indicate a high likelihood of below‑average rainfall amounts in the November 2021 to January 2022 period. This is likely to have negative effects on germination and crop development, especially for the predominantly rainfed maize crop.

Cereal exports in 2021/22 marketing year forecast at high levels

Total cereal exports in the 2021/22 marketing year (April/March) are forecast at an above‑average level of 1.45 million tonnes. Exports of rice, the country’s major exportable crop, are anticipated at below‑average levels due to a weakened international demand. Exports of wheat are likely to remain at high levels, reflecting the bumper harvest obtained in 2021.

Cereal prices on steady rise and very high levels in September 2021

Prices of cereals have been increasing from the beginning of 2020 and, as of September 2021, they were at very high levels. This mainly reflects high production and transportation costs, which stem from elevated international prices of agricultural inputs and fuel. A weakening of the national currency in early 2020 also contributed to increasing costs of imported inputs. The upward trend in the international market exerted additional pressure on prices. Prices of wheat and rice increase between June and September in line with seasonal trends. Prices of yellow maize declined in September for the second consecutive month but remained up from a year earlier. Overall, prices of most food items were higher year on year, as indicated by the annual inflation rate of food and non‑alcoholic beverages, estimated at 6 percent in September 2021.

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