Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (test)

Plant breeding programs in Paraguay

Paraguay_MapThe Republic of Paraguay is one of the two landlocked countries which lie entirely within the Western Hemisphere, in South America. In Paraguay, the agricultural and forest sector is the base of the country’s economy and generates 25% of the GDP. Soybean is the main product of Paraguay but cotton also has a high economic and social importance in spite of a recent cotton production crisis.

The national research system in Paraguay is among the oldest in the hemisphere, begun in 1887. Today, the investments and the institutions of agricultural R&D in Paraguay are small and depend to a great extent on public research funding. MAG/DIA is responsible for the public research and is the main institution where plant breeding of economically important crops is developed.

Cotton has always gathered the main part of Paraguayan plant breeding budget because it is the main crop of social significance, and MAG directs its resources to the development of smaller-scale agriculture. The wheat program also had a great impetus since the 1980s, to allow import substitution. Today, maize, soybean and sugarcane focus more and more attention. Research activities are of a relatively modest nature due to an inadequate number and lack of training of staff involved.

The main limiting aspect in Paraguayan plant breeding programmes is the inadequate number and level of education of plant breeders. The lack of financial resources to carry out field and laboratory experiments is also critical.

Research and education institutes with activities in plant breeding

Public Institutes


Agricultural Research Directorate - Dirección de Investigación Agrícola (DIA)
Website available in Spanish

DIA is the main national institution in charge of agricultural research in Paraguay. It is under the authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería (MAG)). Research is mainly done by 3 units: IAN (Instituto Agronómico Nacional), CRIA (Centro Regional de Investigación Agrícola) and CCEE (Chaco Central Experimental Station). Through its different programs MAG/DIA has been the institution that contributed most to the generation of technologies in plant breeding.


Faculty of Agricultural Sciences - Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Nacional de Asunción (UNA)
Website available in Spanish

In 1956, the Faculty of Agronomy and Veterinary medicine was created as part of the National University of Asunción (UNA), later split into Faculty of Agricultural Sciences (FCA) and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (FMV) in 1994, nowadays Faculty of Veterinary Sciences. The team of the FCA also carries out research activities, although most of their time is dedicated to education. The FCA has undertaken research activities in agronomy, forestry, human ecology and fruit sectors. In 2005, the FCA-UNA has initiated research on sesame plant breeding. It has also been involved in biotechnology activities for academic functions, specializing in addition, in micro-graft technique for obtaining virus-free citruses.

Private Institutes


Technological Centre of Paraguay - Centro Tecnológico Agropecuario del Paraguay (CETAPAR)
Website available in Spanish and Japanese

CETAPAR is a private/international centre. It was created in 1988 under the administrative responsibility of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) until 2010. CETAPAR is a relatively small research agency. Research is centered in soybean, with additional work in wheat. Other areas of reearch interest are cattle, soil, vegetables and crop protection. CETAPAR has physical capacity and adequate equipment for research activities but a weakness in terms of an inadequate number of qualified human resources in plant breeding.


Algodonera Guaraní S.A. (AGUSA)
Website available in Spanish

AGUSA has been involved in cotton breeding and has released commercial varieties that are competing with other national varieties released under MAG-CIRAD-CADELPA agreements. The organization has physical capacity to some extent for research, but lacks adequate human resources for plant breeding. Only one person works on cotton breeding.


Information by Lidia Quintana de Viedma (2008) - Information based on the Paraguay's full report from the PBBC survey. Last revised 25-03-2010, GIPB.