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Montevideo, January 30th 2023 - 08:08 UTC

 

 

Agricultural emergency, triggered by drought, extended for another 90 days in Uruguay

Thursday, January 19th 2023 - 10:22 UTC
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So far in 2023, Uruguay's National Fire Department reported a considerable increase in the number of forest fires. Photo: Sebastián Astorga / MercoPress So far in 2023, Uruguay's National Fire Department reported a considerable increase in the number of forest fires. Photo: Sebastián Astorga / MercoPress

More than 60% of the Uruguayan territory is suffering from extreme or severe drought in the last three months, October 2022/January 2023, according to the Uruguayan Meteorological Institute, Inumet,

Inumet reported this week that “the whole of Uruguay's territory is under conditions of drought, in the period extending from 11 October to 10 January”.

The Inumet statement was supported by a Twitter map showing that 1,85% of the territory (3.272 square kilometers) is under exceptional drought conditions in that period of time; 20,51% (36,233 square kilometers) is under extreme drought; more than 40% under severe drought; 33,02% (58.353 square kilometers) in moderate drought; and 2,48% (4.390 square kilometers) with soil under abnormally dry conditions.

Inumet finally added that so far in January 2023 the rainfall records are not higher than 10 mm, except in some limited areas of the east and northeast of the country.

As a consequence the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries with regional and department advisors met under the Agriculture Emergency Advising Committee umbrella to address support measures for the agriculture sector, and extended the emergency situation for another 90 days, until April.

“We are under a drought situation in great part of Argentina, Uruguay and the Brazilian Southern State of Rio Grande do Sul,” said Uruguayan agriculture minister Fernando Mattos.

“Forecasts are not encouraging, since only very modest rainfall episodes are expected which will not revert the current prolonged drought situation, since in some areas these conditions have been sustained for three years,” said Mattos.

So far in 2023, Uruguay's National Fire Department reported a considerable increase in the number of forest fires. The Montevideo Police Officers Union (SIFPOM) denounces the lack of personnel of the National Fire Department to extinguish and control the wildfires that have broken out in the last few days.

Mattos added that a declaration of climate emergency makes available funds from the Agriculture Emergency and support from the national Development Bank with loans directly to farmers with a 2% interest rate and a long reimbursement period to safeguard the country's productive systems. “This is a direct aid for farmers.”

The minister added that some 1,300 farmers have applied government support, over half of them during the month of January. “The tendency will continue because the overall situation is very serious, and the support system is a great tool to face the situation”

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