PARAGUAY (4 February)
In the areas where soybean crop has already been harvested, planting of 2005 first season maize crop has started. Maize planting intentions are about 250 000 hectares, slightly above the acreage of the same season in 2004. Harvesting of paddy crop is underway in the main producing southern departments of Itapúa and Caazapá. Production for 2004 is forecast at 130 000 tonnes, about 13 000 tonnes more than previous year reflecting good yields. Rice mills are paying paddy at about 50 percent less than the price of previous year, with serious concern for producers that, in several cases, are not able to fully cover their production costs.