Uruguay: ASTI–INIA Country Factsheet
Gert-Jan Stads, Sandra Perez, Isabel Bortagaray, José Bervejillo, Miguel Sierra, and Nienke Beintema
International Food Policy Research Institute and National Agricultural Research Institute
As of 2013, the higher education sector accounted for about half of all the agricultural researchers employed in Uruguay, but the country’s primary agricultural research institute, INIA, was responsible for two-thirds of the country’s agricultural R&D expenditures.
Despite erratic yearly fluctuations stemming from the fact that INIA’s funding is tied to the total value of the country’s agricultural production, total spending on agricultural R&D in Uruguay increased during 2006–2013.
Uruguay’s agricultural research system compares favorably with those of many other Latin American countries on a number of key indicators, including spending as a share of AgGDP, the number of researchers per 100,000 farmers, and the share of female researchers with PhD degrees.
Uruguay: ASTI–INIA Country Brief
Stads, Gert-Jan; Cotro, Beatriz; Allegri, Mario
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA)
In 2006, Uruguay employed roughly 400 fte researchers and spent 848 million Uruguayan pesos (in current prices) on agricultural research. INIA’s funding structure is unique in Latin America in that it receives the proceeds of a commodity tax levied on the total sales value of agricultural commodities in Uruguay and an equal contribution from the national government as counterpart funding. In light of this, INIA is highly dependent on the total production value of Uruguay’s agricultural sector. During 1999–2003, the country underwent the worst economic crisis in its recent history, which in turn led to a contraction of agricultural output and, as a result, overall funding to INIA. In 2004, Uruguay's economy began to recover, resulting in rapidly rising agricultural R&D spending.
Uruguay compares favorably with many of its Latin American counterparts in a number of key agricultural S&T indicators. For example, its agricultural research expenditures as a share of AgGDP (at close to 2.0 percent) are much higher than in other Latin American countries. It is important to note, however, that in order to make a proper assessment of the importance of agriculture to Uruguay’s economy, it is necessary to take agribusiness linkages into account. The resulting indirect role of the agricultural sector in the overall economy is therefore much larger than official AgGDP data indicate, so the country’s high agricultural research intensity ratio should be assessed from this perspective.