20.9.10

Expo Prado 2010 - A day at Uruguay's country fair


Expo Prado is an annual exposition featuring Uruguay’s livestock, agricultural industry, Uruguay’s international trade partners, and a celebration of rural life. It is organized by the AsociacĂ­on Rural del Uruguay and is the most important such event in the country.

Expo Prado 2010 was held from Wednesday, September 8th through Sunday, September 19th at the Rural del Prado, an exhibition center and fairgrounds in the Montevideo neighborhood of Prado.

I visited the exposition on Saturday the 18th. It was a sunny day and a large crowd was out for the last weekend of the event. But even with the crowd everything was so well planned and organized that I never experienced any frustrations.


Uruguay beef and wool 
There were several displays promoting Uruguay beef and Uruguay wool, both very important to Uruguay's economy. There were competitions and awards for cattle, sheep, and horses. There was one large barn for cattle and another large barn for sheep, as well as horse stalls, where the public could view these prize animals from all over the country.

Uruguay olive oil
There was also information relating to Uruguay's oil crops, such as soybeans and sunflowers. A relatively new Uruguayan crop is olives for olive oil. New olive orchards are being planted in many parts of Uruguay’s countryside. Last month (August 2010) a study was conducted in Brazil comparing the olive oils of Argentina, Spain, Italy, and Uruguay. According the chart, olive oil from Uruguayan olives had the highest quality. 

Uruguay wines
Several Uruguayan wineries were represented at the Expo Prado 2010. The wines of the region are becoming increasingly popular. Uruguay's signature variety is the Tannat.

 Farm equipment
There was a lot of farm equipment being promoted, which included tractors, harvesters, and work trucks.The Expo del Prado is the most productive exposition for the sale of agricultural equipment in the country. 

Products from the USA promoted in Uruguay
There were also exhibits by some of Uruguay’s international trade partners. The two largest country exhibits that I saw were the USA and Spain. The USA building included displays promoting Coca Cola, Harley Davidson Motorcycles, American Airlines, IBM, Weyerhauser, United Parcel Service, and agricultural consulting services.

One product from the USA that is being promoted in Uruguay is energy efficient commercial LED lighting fixtures produced by a California company called GREENRAY. Energy costs can be high in Uruguay, and I would expect this type of  product to be well received.

Traditional rural Uruguayan food
There was no shortage of food at the exposition. There were tables for dining and food concessions set up throughout the Rural del Prado. Most of the food being served was traditional Uruguayan barbecue and other foods special to the people of Uruguay. For lunch I had Buseca Criolla (Creole Stew) with beans, vegetables, and beef cooked in a cast iron kettle.  

Perhaps my favorite exhibit was in a large building titled Aromas & Sabores (Aromas and Flavors). In this building there were all kinds of foods grown and or produced in Uruguay. Many of the exhibitors were providing free samples. 

Locally made peanut butter now available
Several expats in Uruguay have reported difficulty finding locally made peanut butter. However, there was a company in the Aromas & Sabores building that makes and distributes manteca de manĂ­ (peanut butter). The peanut butter is sold from a vendor's booth in Plaza Cagancha, located in Montevideo's Centro, on Thursdays and Fridays from 10am until 7pm. Their peanut butter is also starting to be distributed in many of Uruguay's larger grocery chains. 
 These twin lambs were born at the Expo Prado 2010. 
Energy company exhibits 
In addition to the agribusiness and trade exhibits, there were exhibits by UTE (Uruguay's State operated power company) and Petrobras (a Brazilian oil production and distribution company). I have been reading about Petrobras' oil and gas exploration off the Uruguayan coast, and decides to visit their exhibit to see if I could learn anything new about this. However, the display consisted of a half dozen race cars and lovely Uruguayan models all in Petrobras colors with the Petrobras logo.

Entertainment
In the evening bands set up in a couple of areas of the Rural del Prado, providing a variety of live music. I didn't stay to watch the music, but it appeared that people were gearing up for a good time.