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Drought causes over $1bn production losses in Uruguay

Montevideo, Feb 3 (IANS) Drought in Uruguay has had a “direct impact” on farming production, causing about $1.17 billion in losses or 1.9 per cent of the country’s GDP, the Agriculture Ministry said.

A breakdown showed agriculture suffered losses of $490 million, livestock $440 million and dairy $100 million, reports Xinhua news agency.

The figure was a preliminary estimate up for review, agriculture minister Fernando Mattos said, adding that the government has taken steps to alleviate the situation.

He called for more structural measures regarding water use for production and consumption.

Since 2018, Uruguay has been affected by drought across several agricultural areas, and since the beginning of this year, the situation is worsening following the lack of rainfall across most parts of the country.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies, 75,000 people have been affected by this emergency across the Departments of Tacuarembo, Cerro Largo, Florida, Lavalleja, and San Jose.

In addition, the Uruguayan Institute of Meteorology (INUMET), has forecase that the accumulated rainfall expected from December 2022 to February 2023 would be below normal.

In October 2022, the government declared a state of agricultural emergency until the end of April 2023 for the entire country.

According to official data, agro-industrial goods account for over 80 per cent of the South American country’s exports.