MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay’s livestock, agriculture and fisheries minister said at a gathering on Wednesday that irrigation management would be a promising investment opportunity over the next 20 years in the South American country.
Tabare Aguerre made his remarks at a panel discussion on the opening day of the 1st European Investment Forum in Uruguay.
He said approval of an irrigation bill that is to be debated by lawmakers in the coming months and would double the nation’s irrigated surface area would represent an investment opportunity comparable to what existed after the passage of an Uruguayan forestry law in 1987.
Aguerre noted that a productivity record was shattered in Uruguay this year when an average of 3,000 kilos of soybeans per hectare were cultivated, up from a previous average yield of around 2,000 soybeans per hectare.
That record was possible because rain fell in sufficient quantity, providing the same effect as if the crops had been irrigated.
“The irrigation opportunity in Uruguay also is a very solid investment opportunity, because when we refer to irrigation we’re talking about works that require a water-basin rather than a river-basin approach,” Aguerre said.
Shifting to an approach centered on a water basin, an area of land where water is drained into a common point like a stream, river or lake, would foster water use that is efficient and environmentally friendly, Aguerre said.
He noted that the “scarcest resource in the second half of the 21st century” will be water, which he said Uruguay has in abundant supply and must leverage to achieve greater agriculture and livestock production.
Aguerre introduced the panel session, titled “Agribusiness – Investment Opportunities.”
The panel was made up of the chief executive officer of Uruguayan forestry company Montes del Plata, Diego Wolheim; the head of German multinational Bayer’s agriculture-related commercial activities in Uruguay, Diego Paniagua; and the vice president of Finnish technology company Arbonaut, Jari Kinnunen.