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Uruguay Agriculture and Fishing Overview
Agriculture and fishing
Breeding of cows, but also sheep, has always been the backbone of Uruguay's economy. Exports of meat, wool and leather have laid the foundation for the country's prosperity. A small part of the agricultural land is cultivated, but soybeans, which have in a short time become the most common crop, now compete with beef to be the most important export commodity.
Pastures dominate the landscape, there are more than three cows per inhabitant and meat is an important part of daily food. Approximately every tenth job is found in agriculture.
The majority of livestock management is conducted on large farms (estancias). Following a 2001 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that hit hard on meat exports (see Economic overview), a system of accurate labeling of all animals was introduced. Combined with the growth hormones being banned and the animals being free and not raised on animal proteins, the meat is considered to be of very high quality. The production of dairy products is less important, but has grown in recent decades.
Of the more than four fifths of the country's area consisting of agricultural land, the majority is pasture land, but the proportion of cultivated land is increasing.
Soybeans have in just a few years become a dominant crop that is almost exclusively exported. Other common crops are rice, wheat, corn and oilseeds. Grapes, garlic and citrus fruits are also grown.
The fishing industry has no prominent place in the economy, despite an ambitious attempt to promote fishing for exports in the 1980s.
FACTS - AGRICULTURE
Agriculture's share of GDP
5.6 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
82.6 percent (2016)
Vice President Raúl Sendic resigns
Vice President Raúl Sendic resigns after accusations that he used public funds for private use when he was head of the state oil company Ancap. He denies that he did something wrong. Sendic is replaced by Lucía Topolansky, Senator for MLN and wife of former President José Mujica. Topolansky formerly belonged to the left-wing guerrilla Tupamaros and spent 13 years in prison, and was tortured there. Actually, Sendic would have been replaced by the senator who got the most votes in the last election, but because it was Mujica it could not, because of a clause in the constitution.
The pharmacy is starting to sell cannabis
The pharmacies start selling cannabis over the counter. A law from 2013 legalizes the sale of marijuana.
Registration begins for cannabis purchases
The legalization of cannabis takes another step when marijuana users can start registering to be able to buy cannabis at pharmacies. Sales are expected to start in July. Only adult citizens and persons with a permanent residence permit may register.
Ex-prisoner from Guantánamo leaves the country
A Syrian former Guantánamo prisoner who went on hunger strike to leave the country is said to have gone to South Africa. The 45-year-old man who arrived in Uruguay in December 2014 was later arrested in Venezuela from where he was sent back to Uruguay. In October, his condition was reported to be critical when he hungered for two months.
Victory against tobacco giant
The World Bank's Center for Investment Disputes (ICSID) decides to Uruguay's favor in a dispute with Philip Morris, who sued the country for its strict tobacco laws. In 2006, Uruguay became the first country in Latin America and the fifth in the world to ban smoking in public places and imposed severe restrictions on tobacco advertising. The law was passed during the first presidential term of Tabaré Vázquez.