After hard work, the Technical Committee for the Promotion of Organic Production (CTPPO), composed of representatives of the public and private sectors, and led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) through the Vice Ministry of Agriculture, presented the National Organic Program (PNO), which is an important instrument that includes action plans and projects aimed at promoting organic agriculture in Paraguay as a sustainable and inclusive way of growing food, taking into account that it involves peasant and indigenous family farmers.
The National Organic Program has been developed within the framework of the project “Development of organic peasant agriculture for economic recovery and productive reactivation in the context of COVID 19“, implemented by the ETEA Foundation – Development Institute of Loyola University and Alter Vida, with the support of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).
The Committee is awaiting official approval of the document by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), in order to implement it over a five-year period with the producer families with a view to obtaining successful results and benefits for them.
The program was prepared on the basis of Law 3481/08 on the Promotion and Control of Organic Production and other instruments, such as sectoral strategies and plans, and describes the global and national context of organic production.
It also presents the justification, relevance and rationale, responding to legal mandates, opportunities and challenges of the sector. It also proposes guidelines for activities over a five-year period, with a limited target population and a defined budget, and sets out as expected results the prioritization of the selected value chains and the number of families that could benefit from them.
“Organic and agroecological production, in addition to being a means of accessing differentiated markets, is a healthy and sustainable way for Paraguayan producer families to exercise their right to work with dignity by engaging in this activity in harmony with the environment,” said Juanita Caballero, of the Technical Committee, during the presentation ceremony.
The development of the “Program” was carried out through participatory workshops with members of the CTPPO; it also included interviews and questionnaires that were applied to representatives and representatives of organizations, cooperatives and companies that market these products.
“In summary, with the approval of the SOP, not only the sector will benefit, but the whole country, because it will help to implement new strategies, articulating efforts between the public and private sectors and the links in the value chain in order to have products that present a different and attractive added value for differentiated markets and fundamentally that leave profits in economic terms to rural families,” Caballero emphasized.
“There is much room for growth for the organic sector, in terms of product diversity and volumes, as well as access to new niches, so this initiative is intended for good coordination and planning of work,” he said.
Jhordan Moisés M. Espínola Collar, congratulated the national producers who conquered demanding markets, such as the European Union. “Organic production is of fundamental importance to us, as it generates economic, social and environmental benefits. In addition, this type of products have a high consumer demand, both nationally and internationally. For this reason, we will focus on promoting strategies for the promotion of this sector of agriculture.”
The importance of organic production
Organic or agroecological production emerges as an alternative to conventional agriculture and represents an energetic tool for Paraguayan family farming to adopt systems that entail traceability of their products, as well as the gradual implementation of good agricultural and manufacturing practices, requirements for access to the most demanding markets in developed countries.
In Paraguay, according to the latest reports (2019) of the National Service for Plant and Seed Quality and Health (SENAVE), production under organic regime reaches 57,566 ha, which represents 0.3% of the total area used for agriculture in the country. The year-on-year increase in organic area between 2018 and 2019 was 34.0%. However, in the last 10 years it had an increase of only 12.5%, compared to a growth of 102.0% worldwide, in the same period (IFOAN & FiBL Organics International, 2021). In our country there are 5100 organic producers.
In Paraguay, according to data from the Investment and Exports Network (REDIEX), in 2020 exports were recorded at a value of close to 101.0 million US dollars, which represents a decrease of 12.0% compared to the export value in 2014 (115.0 million US dollars).
As for the national participation by items, three of them account for about 80.0 % of Paraguayan organic exports, where sugar represents more than 50.0 %, chia more than 25.0 % and sesame, with about 5.0 %.
The initiative is made up of CPROA, its associates and other institutions, producer organizations, companies and networks that are part of the national organic sector: Paraguay Orgánico, Alter Vida, Asociación de Productores Orgánicos (APRO), Red de Organizaciones Ambientalistas del Paraguay, Red Rural, Pojoaju Asociación de ONGs del Paraguay, Oñoirũ, Makul SA, IGT, Chololó Agroindustrial, La Norteña Ycuamandyyú Cooperativa de Producción Agropecuaria e Industrial, IMO Cert, Frutalia, Eco Agri, Cooperativa Manduvirá Ltda. , Cenconori Ltda, Cectec, Carras SRL, Pastoral Social San Pedro del Paraná, Asociación de Productores Agropecuarios Pojoaju de Yasy Cañy (APAPY) and WWF Paraguay.