U.S. and Paraguay Team Up To Boost Small-Scale Farmers

May 6, 2011
Sesame Farmers Participate in the 1207 Program
Farmers Bundle Cut Sesame
Farmers Remove the Large Debris To Reveal the White Sesame Seeds Beneath
Farmers Place Sesame Seeds into Sacks
A Machine Separates the Seeds from any Remaining Debris
Small Farmers Bring Their Seed or Other Produce to a Small Ranchers’ Collective
The Collective Helps Small Farmers of Sesame and Other Produce To Better Market and Sell Their Goods
The USAID Program Coordinator Celebrates the Opening of a New Warehouse and Office Space
Inside, Ranchers Store Communal Farming Equipment

When I stepped out of the car, I felt as if I had stepped into a furnace; the heat from the Paraguayan sun was intense. I was amazed to see a large group of people already waiting for a ceremony to begin. My colleagues and I arrived to join them in the inauguration of new facilities for small farmers in the communities of San Vicente and Jejui in northeastern Paraguay. The U.S. government had partnered with the government of Paraguay and contributed funds and technical support to build the facilities through a program called the Northern Zone Initiative (IZN).

The IZN is part of a U.S. Embassy in Asuncion, Paraguay program dedicated to preventing conflict and stabilizing the at-risk northern region of Paraguay. Funded through Section 1207, the project aims to bolster economic security by increasing employment and household income, focusing assistance on Paraguay's large population of small farmers.

Paraguay has two primary agricultural models. One is a large and mechanized system modeled to create exports. The other comprises small subsistence farmers who have little formal training or access to technology. The IZN program helps these small farmers reap some of the benefits of the larger industrial model. The program brings them together to market their crops as a group to command higher prices and gives them access to a new processing facility, a warehouse with farm equipment, and office space to increase their efficiency. The slideshow above shows a number of these new facilities in both San Vicente and Jejui.

The United States and Paraguayan governments have been partners in the IZN program since 2009, with the United States contributing funds and technical support, and Paraguay providing additional funds and in-kind contributions. Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo appointed the Ministers of Governance, Agriculture, and Commerce and Industry to work with U.S. Ambassador Liliana Ayalde on the program, which seeks to strengthen regional law enforcement and local governance in addition to agriculture and economic security.

In San Vicente and Jejui and throughout the northern zone, communities came together to prepare project proposals, negotiate which projects would best meet their needs, and work with technicians to construct the facilities and learn how to maintain them. The communities' involvement at every stage ensured that the projects funded were the ones most important to them and helped to safeguard long-lasting benefits.

At the inaugural ceremony in San Vicente, residents turned out in force to celebrate the project's completion. People started to applaud and cheer as the cover was lifted from the dedicatory plaque. The people of San Vicente had built something together, improving their lives through greater harvest and income, and contributing to the economic stability of their community.



United States
May 7, 2011

John in the U.S.A. writes:

We need just about every type of agricultural model – farming is a noble and honorable profession that should be encouraged globally – including western nations – from small to large – we need it all – many mouths to feed and bellies to fill – who knows, that hungry child out there – when they are no longer hungry- may revolutionize the world – Keep up the work of good – good work.

May 9, 2011

C. writes:

This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.

May 13, 2011

Weldon writes:

It is exciting to see the U.S. involved in the improvement of Paraguayan agricultural infrastructure. When sustainable economic opportunities are created to measurably contribute to the local economy, violence and other conflicts become less desirable and less common. The State Department is astute to recognize this connection and to help institute the IZN program with the intent of increasing security and bolstering Paraguayan local economies. Helping Paraguay build a solid economic foundation is in the geopolitical interest of the region, the Paraguayan nation, and of the U.S.

Roger S.
June 22, 2011

Roger in Ecuador writes:

Hello... Please give valid email addresses and names of right persons to whom I can contact, for talk about an important brand new project I just developed for Europe, to obtain methane biogas from maize (corn) as a renewable energy source to generate heat and electricity.

I will like to help USAID and/or ACDIVOCA but to similar organizations, as an international
(worldmide) senior consultant, to perform this kind of projects practically anywhere, to sustitute any forms of petroleum berning as is possible, but also creating wellfare, many jobs, richness, etc, always thanks to U.S. Government best wishes to help to fight againts poberty.

Thanks in advance for all your help...

Warm regards



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