Area km2176,215

Population: 3,518,552

Capital: Montevideo

ISO 3166: UY


Population density:
20.0 hab/km2

National flower:
Cockspur coral tree (Erythrina crista-galli)



Uruguay is an agro-industrial country, heavily oriented to the export of foodstuffs, goods and services. Uruguayan main crops are soybean, rice, maize, wheat, barley, sorghum, rapeseed and other products such as citrus fruits, blueberries, vegetables, among others. Regarding animal production, Uruguay is an important producer of beef and sheep meat. In addition, Uruguay produces pork and poultry meat, as well as milk and dairy and fish products. Viticulture and forestry (both wood and cellulose) also play a significant role in the Uruguayan agro-industrial production. Uruguay’s main agricultural export products are beef, soybean, milk and rice.


 GM Crops


Does the country plant GM crops?
Does the country plant GM crops?
Area with GM crops in millions hectares
Area with GM crops in millions hectares

Percentage of each GM crop


HT: herbicide-tolerant - IR: insect-resistant

Adoption of transgenic crops in the country




HT: herbicide-tolerant - IR: insect-resistant






International trade of GM crops

Uruguay is a net ag-exporting country. Products derived from GM crops represent more than 18.5% of the value of the country's agricultural exports and reach 28 countries. For more information about the contribution of GM crops to world trade, from Uruguay and other Latin American countries, visit the Trade section.






Are there local developments?


Some examples of local developments

• Drought-tolerant soybean developed by the Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA), in conjunction with the Laboratory of Plant Molecular Biology of the Facultad de Ciencias and the National University of South Korea.




 Benefits of GM crops


The adoption of transgenic crops resulted in significant economic advantages for the country, benefiting many farmers and their families and the whole community. The adoption of transgenic crops by Uruguayan agriculture has had a direct impact -due to the additional income generated by GM crops (soybean and maize) -and an indirect impact on the country’s economy, creating additional labor demand. Transgenic crops adoption has been accompanied by an expansion of the Uruguayan agricultural sector and by yield increase. In addition, GM crops contributed to the reduction of production costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Herbicide-resistant crops have favored the adoption of no-till farming, with added benefits for the soil. Insect-resistant maize favored the adoption of late sowing, thus allowing risk diversification.





For further information regarding benefits


• Crecimiento y cambios en la agricultura uruguaya. CUS-Seragro (2019)

• Dos décadas de cultivos transgénicos en Uruguay - Impactos en la agricultura y la economía nacional. Consultora Agropecuaria Seragro (2016)

• GM crops: global socio-economic and environmental impacts 1996-2018. Brookes and Barfoot (2020a)

• GM crop technology use 1996-2018: farm income and production impacts. Brookes and Barfoot (2020c)

• Environmental impacts of genetically modified (GM) crop use 1996-2018: impacts on pesticide use and carbon emissions. Brookes and Barfoot (2020b)




 Regulation of GM crops

Brief description of the regulatory framework

The entities in charge of authorizing all GMO-related activities are gathered in SNB (National Biosafety System). Within the SNB, GNBio (Biosafety Cabinet) is the authority that regulates access to technologies, and it is composed of 6 ministries: Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, Public Health, Environment, Industry, Economy, and Foreign Affairs. The process is conducted by the CGR (Commission for Risk Management), which is responsible for issuing regulations and advising GNBio in matters related to GMO risk assessment and management; it is composed of representatives of each of the six ministries. The technical and scientific assessment is performed by an entity called ERB (Biosafety Risk Assessment), which coordinates a multidisciplinary team of experts and produces reports and technical recommendations in matters of risk assessment and management for the CGR. To further coordinate such tasks, the entity is supported by the CAI (Committee for Institutional Coordination). During the regulatory process, risk assessment comprises risks for the environment, biological diversity, human and animal health, and plant health, as well as the social and economic impacts of the GMO under analysis.




 GM animals


Does the country produce GM animals?


For the time being, the country does not commercially produce GM animals.


Brief description of the regulatory framework for GM animals

For the time being, Uruguay has not enacted a regulatory framework for the authorization of activities involving GM animals.


Are there local developments?


Some examples of local developments

As a proof of concept, sheep producing green fluorescent protein (GFP) exhibiting fluorescence under UV light, developed by the Instituto de Reproducción Animal Uruguay (Irauy) y el Instituto Pasteur de Montevideo.




 Multilateral Fora


Uruguay is member/party of: