Uruguay

GIEWS Country Brief: Uruguay 23-October-2020

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Cereal production in 2020 forecast at above‑average level

  2. Planting of 2021 paddy crop ongoing under dry weather conditions

  3. Cereal exports in 2020/21 marketing year forecast at below‑average levels

  4. Cereal prices in September 2020 higher year on year

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Cereal production in 2020 forecast at above‑average level

The 2020 wheat crop is currently at grain filling stage and production is forecast at 745 000 tonnes, slightly lower than the previous five‑year average due to a contraction in plantings. The planted area is officially estimated at a slightly below‑average level, as farmers preferred to plant other winter crops, such as rapeseed or barley, prices of which were more remunerative during the planting period. According to satellite imagery, despite the slightly below‑average precipitation between July and September 2020, vegetation conditions are average.

The harvest of the 2020 barley crop is about to start in November. Due to the near‑record planted area, production is expected at a well above‑average level. Sowings increased sharply in 2020 reflecting the strong demand by the beer industry. Currently, yields are reportedly to be above average as barley is more resistant to dry weather conditions than wheat.

The aggregate cereal production in 2020, including paddy and maize crops harvested in May, is forecast at 3.5 million tonnes, slightly above the previous five‑year average due to above‑average barley and maize crops.

Planting of 2021 paddy crop ongoing under dry weather conditions

Planting operations of the 2021 paddy crop are ongoing. The planted area of paddy crop is anticipated to continue to decline and set a new record low level as the decreasing trend observed during the last ten years is likely to be exacerbated by the low availability of irrigation water. Weather forecasts indicate high probabilities of below‑average precipitation in the last two months of 2020, which coincides with crop germination and early development stages, raising concerns on yield potential.

Cereal exports in 2020/21 marketing year forecast at below‑average levels

Total cereal exports in the 2020/21 marketing year (April/March) are forecast at a low level of 1.2 million tonnes. Exports of rice, the country's major exportable crop, are forecast to be below‑average reflecting the low output harvested in 2020.

Cereal prices in September 2020 higher year on year

Prices of rice were stable in September for the second consecutive month and were more than 35 percent higher year on year due to the strong domestic and international demand amid the COVID‑19 pandemic. Prices of maize have been steady or weakening since April, mainly reflecting the relative stability of the local currency in the past few months, following a steep increase in the first quarter of 2020. However, prices remained about 20 percent above their year‑earlier values, mainly due to tight domestic supplies from lower imports and a yearly declined 2020 output. Similarly, prices of wheat grain were also up from a year earlier.