Uruguay Aceite de Oliva

Uruguay olive oil farms are growing at the rate of 2,500 new acres per year (Foto: Grupo Oliva)

The quality and quantity of Uruguay olive oil production are both growing rapidly, according to a new industry report from ASOLUR (Asociacion Olivicola Uruguay). It’s a phenomenal story considering there were no olives in Uruguay a decade ago.

While farmers started cautiously planting around 1,200 acres in 2002, the olives thrived given Uruguay’s Mediterranean climate, abundant rainfall and quality soil. Today Uruguay boasts over 22,000 acres of olives, and ASOLUR estimates that figure will grow by 2,500 acres per year, as low land costs, tax incentives and the lucrative crop attract more agricultural investors.

The quality of Uruguay olive oil was validated twice this year with Uruguay producers garnering awards at two of the industry’s most important expos: Terra Olivo in Israel and Olivinus in Argentina. With these accolades, ASOLUR says Uruguay joined the ranks of the world’s Top Ten producers of extra virgin olive oil in terms of quality.

The profile of the typical Uruguay olive farm is purely oil and export-focused. 95% of all Uruguay olives are shipped to one of the country’s 15 mills for mixture and pressing into oil. As domestic consumption per capita is relatively low, the majority of Uruguay olive oil production is shipped to countries like Argentina, Brazil, Canada and the US. ASOLUR estimates 550,000 liters of olive oil production this year; a figure forecast to surge to 10 million liters by 2020. (Full Story in Spanish)

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