Can Yerba Mate Grow in Uruguay?
The price of yerba mate is rising. This is driven by the world’s largest producer of yerba mate – Argentina, but the natural laws of supply and demand are causing the price of Brazilian and Paraguayan yerba to follow suit. So scientists in Uruguay are exploring the possibilities of growing yerba mate in Uruguay on a commercial scale.
Whilst the climate is not normally suitable to grow yerba mate in Uruguay, there are two areas where yerba mate has been found growing:
1) Cerro Arbolito, Tarcuarembó
Yerba mate has been found growing between sandstone walls which provides the ideal conditions of moisture and temperature for the species
2) Arevalo, Cerro Largo
Yerba mate can grow here on small, marshy islands of forest, surrounded by grasslands. Other species that wouldn’t normally grow in Uruguay such as certain ferns and creepers can also grow in these condition.
Some of the specimens found are up to 12 meters tall, with trunk diameter of up to 30cm!
So can yerba mate grow in Uruguay – yes! But for now, on a commercial scale it is still impossible – the conditions in these particular areas are just right, but hard to replicate, and these areas are part of a national conservation area, not available for farming.