Uruguay ranks 11th in the ranking of world rice exporters and second in Latin America after Brazil, by 2020.
Uruguay has 135,000 hectares planted and strict compliance with export commitments. Last season, 1,215,000 tons of paddy rice were harvested, making the country the seventh largest exporter in the world.
This cereal arrives from Uruguay to a large number of countries. In 2020, rice was exported to almost 50 markets. Turkey, followed by Belgium and Germany, are the main export destinations within the European Union, which acquired 12% of total exports in 2020. In addition, countries such as Peru, Brazil, Mexico and Panama are the main buyers.
The main exported varieties of rice are semi-milled or wholly milled, husked, broken and paddy rice.
The reasons that lead these countries to buy Uruguayan rice are the guarantee of food safety and the premium quality of the grain. The vast majority of the crops are fine long grain, although there are also medium grain and short grain.
The country is capable of exporting tons of rice with the same quality from the first to the last grain. In addition, it meets the sanitary conditions required by the European protocol for the use of agrochemicals.
Thanks to the quality of Uruguay’s rice production, its average productivity levels per hectare are among the highest in the world, enabling it to meet the challenge of exporting 95% of the rice it produces. Despite the consequences brought by COVID-19, in the first half of 2020 the sector grew 65% compared to the same period of 2019. In the total exported in 2020, rice sales grew 23% compared to the previous year.
The humid subtropical climate, with rainfall throughout the year, the fertile soil and the systematic application of technologies, constitute a favorable ecosystem for production, which, together with model agricultural practices for the whole world, are the reasons why this crop has had an important development. The production system based on pasture rotation and flood irrigation also favor production.