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Soy Cultivation - Caaguazu and San Pedro, Paraguay

GM soy monoculture expansion remains the Paraguayan government line of sight.


In the 1970s some farmers from the South of Brazil moved their traditional soy cultivation to Paraguay. By 1999-2000, the cultivation of transgenic soy had spread quickly in Paraguay, and the country became the worlds third largest exporter, and fourth largest producer, of soy.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Soy Cultivation - Caaguazu and San Pedro, Paraguay
State or province:Caaguazu and San Pedro
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Soybeans
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In 1995 there were 800,000 hectares of soya grown in Paraguay. Eight years later, in 2003, soybean farming increased to 2 million hectares, while production rose from 2.3 million to 4.5 million tons. The Paraguayan Government plans to assign another 2 million hectares of land to genetically modified soy monoculture. In Paraguay the majority of productive land is in the hands of a few big landowners, who represent just 2 percent of the population but own 80 percent of the land. The use of herbicides causes serious soil and water pollution, threatening food sovereignty and local community health provoking skin and breathing diseases.

Project area:2000000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:150000
Start of the conflict:2000
Company names or state enterprises:Cargill from United States of America
Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) from United States of America
Bunge from United States of America
Relevant government actors:Government of Paraguay, INDERT - Paraguay, the National Comission of Human Rights of Paraguay, Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:MAP - Paraguay, MST - Brazil, Committee of Indigenous Farm Women of Paraguay (CONAMURI), National Farmers Federation (FNC), Sobrevivencia Amigos de la Tierra Paraguay
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Genetic contamination, Global warming, Waste overflow, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Specific impacts on women
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Development of alternatives:Land redistribution and agrarian reform. Crops' diversification.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Although a small part of the displaced people have been given a piece of land, the majority of the population has no land to live. Moreover, all the affected families by the toxic herbicides (some of them dead) have not received compensation. Since 1996, more than 1.2 million hectares of forest have been cut down to grow soy rather than food and other crops. Over the last 20 years 100,000 small-scale local farmers have migrated to city slums or to other countries or have become landless. Each year in Paraguay 9,000 rural families are evicted by soy production and nearly half a million hectares of land are turned into soy fields.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Resolution 153 by the Ministry of Agriculture authorizing GM soy seed : BtRR2Y

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

La lucha campesina 1990-2004. Pilz, Dania; Quintin, Riquelme; Rodriguez, Mirtha; Villalba, Roberto. Centro de Documentacion y estudios. 2004
[click to view]

Movimientos campesinos en el Paraguay. Fogel, Ramon. Centro Paraguayo de estudios sociologicos. 1986
[click to view]

‘Responsible Soy’ in Paraguay: Grupo DAP and the advancement of soy monocutures in San Pedro, CEO Report, 2009
[click to view]

Informe de la gira de verificación sobre los impactos de la soja transgénica en Paraguay , GRAIN, 19/02/2014
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Paraguay’s Destructive Soy Boom, j., Hobbs, 02/07/2012, New York Times
[click to view]

Avance del monocultivo de soja transgenica en el Paraguay, T., Palau
[click to view]

Paraguay: soja transgénica y la violación de los derechos humanos, 14/08/2014
[click to view]

Cultivo extensivo de Soja:terribles consecuencias., 27/11/2009
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Lucie Greyl
Last update04/01/2016
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