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Research National Programs National Vegetable Crop Production Research Program
National Vegetable Crop Production Research Program

 

 
 

INTRODUCTION

This sector is the main food supplier of Uruguayan population. Its products are required for a safe and equilibrate nourishment since they provide essential nutrients and components. Intensive farming occupies only 1,8 % of the country total area, 20% of the farms and rural population, representing around 15% of the Agricultural GPV. Vegetable Crops represent about one third of this sector occupying 5000 farms in 25.000 hectares, the majority of which are operated by family growers.

Vegetable Crops production includes a wide range of relatively intensive crops and production systems. Two main regions can be distinguished in the country: a more specialized area in the North of the country and a more variable one in the South.

Production goes mainly to domestic market, without almost any processing. There has been a significant improvement in availability and quality of products for the majority of the vegetable crops.

Farm ecology conditions make necessary the implementation of management and post harvest improved measures in order to reduce climatic dependence and production irregularities. In Uruguay, humidity excess or deficit are common.

There is a relative degradation of natural resources worsened by conventional tillage practices without appropriate rotations. This is related to the increase of pest and disease problems.

Research is oriented to adjust productive packages for different crops. Because of their diversity, those with major economic importance and with development possibilities for different markets are emphasized.

Currently selected crops are: potato, sweet potato, garlic, onion, tomato and strawberry. Occasionally, some activities related to sweet pepper, watermelon, melon, lettuce, squash, sweet corn, carrots and grain legumes are carried out.

Market size may be compensated by reducing the area dedicated to some crops and/or promoting new ends for production, like processing and exporting. There is some space for substitution of imported products and mainly for value adding through product and process differentiation or industrial transformation, particularly for export purposes.

Food requires safety and traceability guarantees. Integrated and Organic Production Programs are an approach for these topics. Domestic market satisfaction could make possible to address more demanding markets. There are specific plans for supplying domestic market with high added value products, for example processed tomato. There are also opportunities for some other crops, for example for frozen (potato, strawberry) or dehydrated items.
Technological proposals must be adjusted to different production systems. There has to be a farm focus aiming at production system sustainability and integrating animal production. This should be addressed in development proposals for the three main regions considered (Southern, Northwest, and Northeast), looking for validation of research results and a fast adoption of information and technology.

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GENERAL OBJECTIVE

Minimize environmental impact of productive activities, assuring quality and food safety, promoting commercial insertion and production value.

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SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

1/ Promote pest resistant varieties, adapted to different farm ecology conditions and destinies.

2/ Promote soil and water management practices to improve productivity and quality of vegetable crop products in a sustainable way.

3/ Promote improved practices for pest control, minimizing environmental impact.

4/ Promote crop and post harvest practices to improve quality and safety of vegetable crop products

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CONTACT

Contact: vegetables@inia.org.uy

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