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Paraguay Productivo celebrates a successful first year


Rose Rakas, Director of USAID/Paraguay, addressing the audience.Rose Rakas, Director of USAID/Paraguay, addressing the audience.USAID’s Paraguay Productivo (managed by CARANA) celebrated its first anniversary November 8 with a presentation of its accomplishments thus far. More than 200 people attended, including Rose Rakas, Director of USAID/Paraguay, who praised the project, and added: “This growth [achieved through the project’s aid] must be accompanied by a growth in everybody’s responsibility to ensure it will benefit all Paraguayans, and that efforts will be focused on reducing inequality.”

In its first year, Paraguay Productivo has signed agreements with 19 different key organizations, and is working with lead firms and small producers to improve seven value chains (or industries) in Paraguay: stevia, dairy, fruit and concentrates, cassava, organic sugar, sesame, plus a focus on an issue that affects all sectors: financial services.

Through the project’s efforts, black sesame post-harvest standards are being raised with a pilot tracking system to satisfy the Japanese market—Paraguay’s top sesame buyer—which has previously returned substandard product. Black sesame is a small yet growing market, paying higher prices than the standard white variety. Paraguay Productivo has also facilitated 2,200 loans to passion fruit, sesame and cassava producers, and 100 small producers have boosted their incomes by taking on the production of stevia for export.

Totals for Paraguay Productivo’s first year: 4,000 small producers received technical assistance, local and export sales rose by $3.85 million total, and 1,588 jobs were created.

Read press coverage of the event:

Download the project's summary of its first anniversary accomplishments (in Spanish)

Published November 2010