Paraguay

GIEWS Country Brief: Paraguay 09-July-2021

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Prevailing dry weather conditions curb cereal production prospects in 2021

  • Exports of cereals in 2021/22 marketing year forecast at high levels

  • Government supports vulnerable households amid severe COVID‑19 second wave

Prevailing dry weather conditions curb cereal production prospects in 2021

Harvesting of the 2021 maize crop, the main cereal produced in the country, started at the end of June, with about 45 days of delay. The late harvest is due to dryness in the 2020 September‑November period that delayed the cropping season of soybeans, which precedes planting of maize on the same fields. Yields are expected at below‑average levels, affected by low rainfall amounts in the March‑May period and a recent cold spell in June. The 2021 aggregate production of maize, including the below‑average minor crop harvested at the beginning of the year, is anticipated at 5.5 million tonnes. The expected near‑average output mainly reflects large plantings, instigated by the strong demand for exports, which offset the below‑average yields.

Planting of the wheat crop, to be harvested from mid‑September, recently concluded in June. Soil moisture deficits accumulated between March and May caused delays to planting operations and affected germination of early‑planted crops. Rainfall amounts increased to average levels in June and supported sowing and establishment of late‑planted crops. The planted area is preliminarily estimated at a near‑average level. Weather forecasts indicate a high likelihood of below‑average rainfall amounts during the July‑September period, with potential negative consequences on yields.

Harvesting of the paddy crop concluded in mid‑May and production is estimated at 1.1 million tonnes, 10 percent above the average, mainly due to the large plantings.

Exports of cereals in 2021/22 forecast at high levels

Cereal exports in the 2021/22 marketing year (July/June), mainly maize, are forecast at 3.8 million tonnes, more than 10 percent above the previous five‑year average. The expected high level reflects large exportable availabilities and a strong demand from Brazil, the main cereal importing country.

Government supports vulnerable households amid severe COVID 19 second wave

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) of the United Nations, the country’s Gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by 3.5 percent in 2021 after having contracted by 1.6 percent in 2020. The latest data released by the National Statistics Institute indicates that the poverty rate increased by 3.4 percentage points year on year in 2020, with a total of 1.92 million people (or 27 percent of the national population) estimated to be living below the poverty line.

Amid a second wave of the COVID‑19 pandemic in April, the government has reintroduced some containment measures that will be in place until mid‑July. It is expected that these measures will have a negative impact on the economy, reducing income‑generating activities and curtailing access to food especially for the poorest households.

To improve the food security of the most vulnerable households, the Ministry of Social Development allocated a budget of PYG 54 200 million (about USD 8 million) to scale up its social protection programmes ( Tekoporã and Tenonderã ). These programmes are expected to provide cash to more than 115 000 people.