Uruguay’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic has been praised worldwide. With fewer than 2,000 cases and less than 50 deaths so far, the relatively small South American nation is the exception once again. Economic recovery has farming at its core: agriculture, livestock, forestry, agrifood in general, are all key to the country’s performance. That ExpoPrado, the country’s largest rural trade show, took place in the midst of an unprecedented global crisis, is a testimony to Uruguay’s science-based public health management, the strength of its institutions, the education of its people, and also a signal of the strength of the country’s most iconic sector. Trust was also key: trusting not just the government but each other more than ever before.

ExpoPrado, organised by Uruguay’s Rural Association (ARU), is difficult to describe to outsiders. On the one hand, it’s the country’s largest event. No other occasion gathers this many people from all backgrounds, social groups, ages, geographies and activities. It is a second-to-none consumer show, the perfect launch pad for a brand, the unmissable marketing opportunity, the hub of the annual sales efforts for many. It’s the place to be seen.

On the other hand, “el Prado” gathers the elite, the crème-de-la-crème of animal genetics in the country. It’s a cattle exhibition of some of the best breeders in the world. The focus is definitely on cattle (for agriculture, ExpoActiva in March might prove a better option) but it’s a gathering point for everyone in the sector. Not everyone can manage the 12 days of the show but all of us who work directly or indirectly in the sector, drop by at least for a day (four this year, in our case – check out #SunnySkyPrado2020 on twitter for -even more- photos!).

“el Prado” is an important part of our annual business calendar, together with some other sector shows such as ExpoActiva and ExpoMelilla

Hereford is still the most widely adopted cattle breed in Uruguay.
Angus, gaining in popularity, is the second most common cattle breed in Uruguay.
Shorthorn is also an important breed in Uruguay and evidence of British influence in Uruguayan farming.
Other beef breeds also present at ExpoPrado include Wagyu (above), Brangus and Braford. Dairy cattle were not present at the show this year.
Our Associate Consultant, Matías Sara. Once a Braford man, always a Braford man.
Sheep are also a key part of Uruguay’s farming culture. Brits will recognise the breed!
Sheep show-off. More on sheep in Uruguay here.
Horses are big protagonists at the show. Criollos are the stars, but there are also other breeds present, such as American Appaloosa.
Agricultural machinery also matters at ExpoPrado, and the big global players are here.
Thinking financing through is absolutely key when selling large capital equipment in Uruguay.
ExpoPrado is a crucial shop window for capital equipment. Branding and marketing are key. Can you recognise the lady on the banner?
Following a 10-years absence, the Americans were back at ExpoPrado.
The Italians were there, too.
Spain showing off some of its most famous exports.
Another hugely successful year for the British Pavilion at ExpoPrado. Brands featured included Land Rover, Hunter Boots, Dr Martens, and HSBC.
We were delighted to support the UK Department for International Trade with a virtual agritech trade mission during ExpoPrado. In the picture: our Director, Gabriela Castro-Fontoura, leading a webinar on doing business in Uruguay, with Ambassador Faye O’Connor and the DiT team.
We organised over 30 meetings between UK agritech companies and Uruguayan counterparts.
We supported our consultancy clients at ExpoPrado, including companies from the UK and Ireland, working in areas such as animal nutrition, plant nutrition, animal welfare, and water purification.
New Zealand companies are highly respected in Uruguay and some are successfully selling through local partners. Our Director. Gabriela Castro-Fontoura, has recently been designated Beachhead Advisor for New Zealand Trade and Investment in Uruguay, a flexible, external role that complements what we do as a consultancy.
Socially-distanced masterclasses were a delight at this ExpoPrado. We learnt about cattle stats, meat industry trends, and the sheep sector in the Falkland Islands.
The best experts in the country discussing the national and international meat industry get joined by the Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, at the end of the talk. The current government is a strong supporter of the agricultural sector and top government personalities visited the show daily, including the President.
The show is about this all: animals, people, business, machinery, networking, tradition, trade and more.
The show got busy at the weekends (which we avoided). The use of facemasks was strictly enforced and the sanitary protocol was closely followed.
We can relax now. We pulled it off.