Due to the recent devastating drought, soybean production in Uruguay is forecast to drop to 1.7 million tons in 2017-18, according to an April 30 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This is a drop of 43% compared to the USDA’s original estimate of 3 million tons. As of March 23, only 3% of the crop had been harvested, the report said.
Although the unexpected storm recorded on Tuesday caused serious damage to certain plantations, the phenomenon is not expected to take a toll on a large scale on the good volume and quality achieved lately at the Uruguayan Mercado Modelo, according to Pablo Pacheco, representative of the commercial area of the said wholesale centre.
With ever more agricultural-risk-related data becoming available, supply and demand for agricultural index insurance in Latin America seems to be experiencing a renewed wave of interest. This is the takeaway from the XIV ALASA (Latin-American Association for the Development of Crop Insurance) Congress, held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in March 2016. As in the past, index products are attractive owing to their perceived objectivity and lean administration. Additional sources of data (remote sensing, increasing number of weather stations and yield statistics) now allow more complex and more sensitive parametric (i.e. index) covers to be designed.
In Uruguay, as in all other countries in the region, the expansion of single-crop agriculture (monoculture) combined with the powerful presence of agri-multinationals, has led to the creation of new power blocks. This in turn creates a policy environment where important decisions are made to facilitate these groups. When compared with its neighbors, Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay has demonstrated a record increase in the use of agricultural land for soybean monoculture. Since 2003, soy land-use has multiplied 15 fold. In this short period, soybeans have displaced traditional crops, such as sunflowers, wheat, and sorghum.
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