US$ 50.05 million
Total Project Cost
US$ 29.72 million
Total IFAD financing
Uruguay stands out in Latin America for being an egalitarian society with a high per capita income, low levels of inequality and poverty, and almost complete absence of extreme poverty. Two main characteristics – a solid social contract and economic openness – paved the way for Uruguay to reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity over the last decade.
Uruguay is a traditional exporter of agricultural commodities. It has a well-developed agro-industry and livestock sector that mainly draws on Uruguay's wealth of natural and agricultural resources. Agricultural exports include beef, fine wool, rice, grain, dairy products and honey.
Despite a national reduction in poverty that reaches 8%, some rural people continue to live in poverty, isolation and vulnerability. Poverty concentrates in the north and northeast areas of the country.. For the most part, the rural poor are young men and women who lack the economic resources and training to generate profitable businesses. In female-headed households, poverty is 2% higher than those male-headed.
Small farmers are also facing growing difficulties in accessing increasingly competitive domestic and international markets. The great majority of the rural poor are rural workers occupied in non-agricultural activities.
Poverty reduction is a priority for the Government, which has implemented a range of social and economic policies to combat it and to widen social inclusion. But given that the bulk of these policies have focused on urban areas, poor rural people have felt little significant impact. There is a need for public service provision to smallholder family farmers, and particularly rural workers and other vulnerable groups among the rural population.
Since 1993, IFAD has played an important role in Uruguay's poverty reduction.
The IFAD-funded Uruguay Rural Project (PUR) 1 played a key part in setting up rural development institutions and policies. Among these were the General Directorate for Rural Development (DGDR), the agency responsible for implementing the country's rural development policies, and the Rural Development Round Tables (Mesas de Desarrollo Rural, MDR), a key instrument in promoting the participation of rural civil society in development.
The recently-completed Rural Inclusion Pilot Project (PPIR) focused on innovations in the areas of financial inclusion, strengthening of rural organizations and smallholder access to markets, with a view to subsequent replication on a national scale.
IFAD's advocacy work in Uruguay, supported by the Regional Programme FIDA-Mercosur 1, has been pivotal in establishing a nationwide policy dialogue on family farming that includes government and civil society. This ongoing dialogue allows the country to promote family farming and – in the framework of the recent operations (PUR and PPIR) – test tools and methodologies to secure adequate public service provision to improve the livelihoods of small family farmers, rural workers and the rural poor.
Uruguay stands out in Latin America for its high average per capita income, relatively low levels of inequality and poverty and the almost complete absence of extreme poverty.
A solid social contract and economic openness paved the way to poverty reduction and the promotion of shared prosperity in Uruguay.
Since 1993, IFAD has invested a total of US$29.7 million in three programmes and projects related to agricultural development in Uruguay, benefiting 17,500 households.
Projects and Programmes
IFAD in the MERCOSUR area
Working to enable poor rural people to overcome poverty, IFAD operates in the MERCOSUR countries at two levels:
• at the subregional level, within the institutional framework of MERCOSUR, it promotes a platform for dialogue between governments and smallholder farmers’ associations, with the aim of increasing public investment in family farming
• at the national level, it provides funding and technical assistance to governments for the implementation of rural development programmes and projects that translate into action the agreements reached at subregional level.
La pobreza rural en Uruguay
El trabajo del FIDA en Uruguay se desarrolla en dos niveles distintos aunque complementarios:
• a nivel subregional, en el marco de las instituciones del MERCOSUR, promueve una plataforma de diálogo entre gobiernos y asociaciones de pequeños productores, con el fin de aumentar la relevancia política de la agricultura familiar y la inversión pública en su favor;
• a nivel nacional, proporciona financiación y asistencia técnica al gobierno para la ejecución de programas y proyectos que traduzcan en acciones las políticas públicas definidas en el ámbito de la subregión y adaptadas al contexto del país.