Uruguay forestry and related activities will soon generate more revenue for the national economy than the other two pillars of Uruguay agribusiness today: meat and soybeans.

Around The Corner”: Forestry As The Great Engine Of The National Economy is the headline of the El Observador analysis which features an interview with the Pedro Soust, the Director of the Forestry Division of Uruguay’s Ministry of Cattle, Agriculture and Fishing (MGAP).

“In a very short period, probably as early as 2015, Uruguay export revenue generated from forestry activities will be the main source of foreign currency inflows to the country breaking the US$2 billion barrier which is more than both meat and soybeans are generating today,” writes Juan Samuelle.

Uruguay timber exports are expected to generate US$1.2 billion in 2014, and the addition of 20,000 hectares of new timberland plus 1.3 million additional tons of eucalyptus pulp from the new Montes del Plata pulp mill should push Uruguay timber over the US$2 billion mark next year.

According to a new report from Uruguay XXI, timber harvest and related activities are contributing to Uruguay’s GDP at an average annual growth rate of 4.8%. Simultaneously the value of Uruguay paper products has exploded since 2008. (See graphs above.)

In the renewable energy arena, the number of foreign companies generating electricity through biomass power plants in Uruguay now includes Bioener (12 MW), Fenirol (10 MW), Liderat (5 MW), Montes del Plata (180 MW), UPM (130 MW) and Weyerhauser (10 MW). 

The positive outlook during this, the 50th anniversary of the country’s Forestry Division, is thanks to Uruguay’s pro-forestry policies enacted as early as 1968 identifying forestry priority soils, offering timber stand planting incentives to local producers and encouraging widespread foreign investment in the sector, says Soust. (Full Story in Spanish)

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