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Paraguay’s cotton exports fall

Exports of cotton from the Latin American country of Paraguay were affected due to a drastic reduction in cotton harvest during the 2012-13 season. Cotton exports earned $20.3 million in foreign exchange for Paraguay, showing a significant decline of 39.4 per cent compared to last year’s earnings of $ 33.5 million.

From January to July 2013, the bank recorded total cotton shipments at 10,917 tons, a drop of 40.5 per cent over 18,348 tons of exports recorded during the same period last year. The decline in exports was mainly due to fall in production, as drought affected the northern part of the country at the beginning of the year, and also because cultivation was delayed. 

The late arrival of transgenic seeds was the main reason for a delay in sowing, as farmers were reluctant to produce cotton with outdated varieties. Bad weather, fall in cotton prices, and non-payment of announced subsidy by the government are cited as other reasons for the decline in cotton output this season. 

Compared to harvest of about 82,000 tons of cotton in the previous season, around 43,000 tons of cotton was produced in 2012-13. Cotton is one of Paraguay's oldest crops, grown since the time of the Jesuit missions. The government encouraged cotton production after the crop was nearly wiped out by the War of the Triple Alliance. Cotton was especially suited to the Paraguayan climate and soils and was grown primarily by small farmers in the central region. Cotton farming experienced extremely rapid growth in the 1970s and 1980s.