By Peter Tase
Based on the soybeans production levels of 2013 and positive prospects for this year, Paraguay is expected to remain one of the largest food producers in the world, at the same time its organic products will increase their presence in international markets and promote higher standards of living at home.
Soybean production has earned a special place in the list of Paraguayan commodities that are traditionally exported abroad, the plantation fields for this crop have doubled in the last few years and production levels have multiplied seven times in less than a decade, thanks to the application of a cutting edge technology which requires substantial and long term investments from producers. During the current year, the prospects for soy bean production are very promising, it is estimated to reach over 10 million tons, a milestone that will be another record in Paraguay’s list of accomplishments in addition to recovering its global status of being considered as the world’s bread basket. In the first Forum of Agriculture of South America, held on November 22, 2013 in Foz de Iguazu, Paraguayan soybean production received special attention thanks to its high quality and growing demand in international markets. Paraguay has the potential to produce more than 9 million tons of soybeans on a surface of more the 3.2 million acres. According to Benjamin Fernandez Bogado of Diario 5 Dias in Asuncion, “growth and cultivation efficiency have ranked Paraguay as the sixth largest exporter of soybeans and oil seed products in the world. Only last year it has generated a revenue that reaches US$ 4.9 billion equivalent to more than 9 million tons of production.”
Agriculture in Paraguay represents over 18 percent of the Gross Domestic Product as well as soybean exports have reached more than 50 percent of the foreign currency that has entered the country.
Similar conditions are expected in 2014; price of commodities will have a slight decrease even though a large factory of soy processing is built in Paraguay and that will bring an added value to nation in order to reach suitable prices, while reaching a higher revenue than 2013.
Soybean production in the other South American countries will continue to increase and is expected to reach 160 million tons. Out of this amount 90 million tons of soy will be produced by Brazil, this represents an increase of 8 million tons. On the other hand 77 million tons of corn are expected to be exported by Brazil during this year. Good weather conditions favor a regional cultivation of soy which is estimated to exceed 160 million tons.
For many local experts, Paraguayan economy will enjoy a robust growth of well above average during this year. Private companies and economists predict a splendid performance of Paraguayan economy. This is due to the growth of a labor-friendly sector which will generate new employment and provide a more sustainable growth, if compared to previous years.
Paraguay is positioning itself as a country with a greater political stability, robust financial and economic growth and is becoming a more inclusive society. At the same time, Asuncion is starting to establish a reputation in the global markets, with its high quality agricultural products, as well as its admirable economic growth of over 13 percent (in 2013). This country could emerge as an engine of development in the region and beyond.
According to Diario 5 Dias, “the Public Private Alliance which combines public and private capital will further strengthen the banking sector, bring greater flexibility in monetary policy as well as avoid a heavy burden that affect the most vulnerable sectors of society. Agricultural production has generated a great level of trust towards foreign investors who are planning to establish their plants and corporations in various sectors. All these positive elements could bring a successful year ahead of us.”