Uruguay is a small country with a population of 3.5 million, but the meat it produces feeds approximately 30 million people. Agriculture is a key part of Uruguay’s economy, representing 70% of all its exports. However, the agriculture sector is responsible for 80% of Uruguay’s greenhouse gas emissions, half of which comes from enteric fermentation.
The country has turned this challenge into a key opportunity for climate action with a strategy to reduce emissions intensity by improving the efficiency and productivity of beef cattle. Since 65% Uruguay is covered by natural grass and pastureland, this strategy also aims to complement livestock emission reductions by sequestering carbon in soils and biomass.
Uruguay is working with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to reduce methane from enteric fermentation and improve food security and livelihoods. This work has provided Uruguay with tools to increase national capacity in order to improve productivity by 30% to 35% while reducing emissions and achieving sustainable production.