Soybean in Paraguay

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In recent years, the soybean industry has grown exponentially in South America, primarily in Brazil and Argentina (South America’s two largest countries) and Uruguay and Paraguay.[1] For Paraguay especially, the results of this explosive growth have been substantial. While the soybean industry has brought economic expansion to Paraguay, the issue of social justice has been raised, as peasant farmers and campesinos [clarification needed] cannot compete with big soybean farms. The issue may be referred to by some[who?] as the "Soybean Wars" of Paraguay.

History of soybeans in Paraguay

Cultivation of soybeans in Paraguay began in 1921; they were introduced by Pedro N. Ciancio.[2]

However the earliest known document to mention soybeans in Paraguay or the cultivation of soybeans in Paraguay was published in 1940.[3]

By the late 1970s, Paraguay was already a major soybean power in the Americas. In 1978 R.C. Schroeder wrote that for decades the United States has had a virtual monopoly on the soybean trade, supplying up to 95 percent of all soybeans and soybean products in international trade. Lately, however, three Latin American nations have been making inroads in the soybean market. A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture publication calls Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay the "major U.S. soybean competitors." Paraguay has more than tripled its soybean production in the past five years, boosting it from 122,000 tons to 375,000 tons.[4]

Soybean demand

The present demand for soybeans comes primarily from China,[1] whose people have acquired a taste for soy-fed pork, cultivated fish, poultry, and cattle. It is important to note that the United States soy trade has had little influence on South America’s production because the U.S. grows enough to meet its own demand. Nonetheless, the demand from the east has been vast enough to spur a 69% increase in Paraguay’s soy production over the past five years, making Paraguay the world’s third largest exporter of soy.[citation needed]

As land value rises in Paraguay, Brazilian and Argentine farmers with the funds and means to support large industry have been crossing the border into Paraguay. While Brazilian and Argentine farmers work to expand the soybean trade, they bring disastrous results as they clear land and extend production farther and farther and eventually across the border into eastern Paraguay. This influx of farmers has resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands of peasants and small farmers.[1] These campesinos claim they have been unjustly uprooted by Brazilian and Argentine landowners.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Jane Monahan (2005-06-06). "Soybean fever transforms Paraguay". BBC News. BBC.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Ciancio, Pedro N. 1951. La Soja y el Problema Alimentario del Paraguay [The Soybean and Paraguay's Nutritional Problem]. Asuncion, Paraguay: Edit. "El Grafico." 505 p. See p. 490
  3. Rodriguez, Manuel A. 1940. La Soya en la Alimentation del Pueblo Paraguayo [The Soybean in the Diet of the People of Paraguay]. Asuncion: Ministerio de Gobierno y Trabajo, Direccion General de Prensa y Propaganda. 51 pp.
  4. Schroeder, R.C. 1978. "Soybean Power.." Americas. 30:9-10. Nov.