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Agribusiness Strangles Paraguay’s Shrinking Rural Population

LADB Article ID: 80430
Category/Department: Paraguay
Date: 2017-10-06
By: Andrés Gaudín

Experts have denounced the rural development model that has been in place in Paraguay since the end of the 20th century––a model, based essentially on agribusiness, which eliminates the campesinos (agrarian workers) as the main actors on small farms and in the national economy. Both Miguel Lovera, an agronomist and ecologist, and Ramón Fogel, a sociologist, said that Paraguay lacks food security and food sovereignty and that campesinos and indigenous communities are experiencing hunger. Because production no longer meets local needs, Paraguay must import fruit, vegetables, and other crops and products that were traditionally produced in the country. The researchers, who see a conflict between agribusiness and family farms, with the state siding with large foreign producers, issued a serious warning: Paraguay faces an increasing possibility of a famine. In just 13 years, the land earmarked for family farms shrank by half. The area used for production of cotton, peanuts, potatoes, cassava, peas, corn, pepper, carrots, and fruits decreased from nearly 700,000 hectares in 2002 to some 330,000 ha. in 2015.Fogel and Lovera agree that through the expansion of soybean monoculture, the population is deprived of the abundance and quality of the foods it has always counted on, and is forced to consume industrially-processed foods.

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