Although Uruguay has only a small number of agricultural R&D agencies, the intensity with which the country invests in agricultural R&D is comparatively high, especially by developing-country standards. In 1996 total agricultural R&D expenditure as a share of agricultural GDP was 1.7 percent.
The National Agricultural Research Institute (INIA), which developed from the government’s former crop and livestock research departments in 1989, is the country’s principal agricultural R&D agency. In 1996, INIA accounted for 47 percent of Uruguay’s total agricultural R&D expenditure and 40 percent of the total number of researchers. INIA is somewhat unique, compared with other public national agricultural research agencies throughout Latin America in that it has substantial administrative independence from the Uruguayan government. It also has an innovative funding base. During the 1990s, almost 30 percent of its funding came form a 0.4 percent tax on the value of agricultural production, with matching funds provided by the government.
The Faculties of Agronomy and Veterinary Science of the University of the Republic accounted for 29 and 17 percent of total agricultural research staff respectively—the remaining three agencies included in this study represented minor shares of the national total. R&D investments by private for-profit agencies are minimal, and often ad-hoc, in nature.