Strategic marketing for Uruguayan Eucalyptus solidwood products
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Forestry Science
Uruguay is a relatively small country by international standards both in land area and in population. In the late 1980s, the government of Uruguay decided to establish plantation forestry and to provide for new industry business development, with rural employment opportunities. An incentive programme was established to subsidise planting costs and a future commitment made to importing processing equipment with duty exemptions. The planting programme has been successful. Today there are 616,000 hectares planted, of which 424,000 are Eucalyptus forests. But Uruguay has had no forestry culture. The issue is one of looking at future projections and anticipating future requirements for developing markets and marketing programmes, a missing ingredient in the current programmes.
This study addresses the situation in the Northern Department of Rivera. Here there has been highly intensive management implemented to Eucalyptus grandis. The questions concern availability and likely product-markets for a lesser-known hardwood species. The issues are how to access these markets and achieve value for new hardwood products. There is some experience developing with plantation Eucalyptus but only for the largest international marketer, Weyerhaeuser. This questions the need to review the market opportunities for landowners growing solidwood Eucalyptus to avoid a commodity approach selling into SE Asia. The identified value-adding product opportunities include furniture and flooring. The species attributes are shown to meet product-market requirements in international markets. General hardwood trends are identified which support more hardwood production and sustainable products from plantations. Recommendations are offered for market positioning and branding Uruguayan Eucalyptus products. Two parallel New Zealand case studies are cited in support of the recommendations. The question is one of raising the sights to achieve market objectives early on and developing a national, industry and company approach to achieve these objectives. This requires both investment and commitment.