Paraguay: Mango export project yields no results

A major project to export mango, a fruit that isn't well regarded in Paraguay, was announced with great fanfare over a year ago. However, the initiative stalled after a storm damaged an installation, in which the Itapu Binational and the Paraguayan Central Cooperative (CEPACOOP) had invested $550,000 dollars.

The proposal was to create a hydrothermal plant, train producers so they would produce according to international standards, provide technical assistance, create treatment plants, so they could get certified and export abroad.

However, the Oparei project came to an abrupt stop, as the general manager of CEPACOOP, Milciades Sosa, confirmed.

"It was a beautiful project that was about to finish last year, but then a storm destroyed all the facilities in the hydrothermal treatment plant. Itapu Binational hadn't even finished giving all of their contribution," he said.

She stated that the storm had taken place on September 21 last year and that they had already invested $500,000 dollars, an amount given entirely by hydropower at that stage. "We were almost unable to move forward because we lost money as we had contributed about $50,000 dollars to the terrain and to personnel," he said.

"We've stored some machines that survived the storm, such as the hydrothermal machines, which wash the fruit with hot water to reduce the effect of water flies," he stated.

When asked if they could resume the project, he replied: "I believe that anything can happen, but it could be a long way off because we have to train producers." He added that they were constantly asked by foreign markets to continue with the initiative so they can export fruit.

The project would have benefited some 300 farmers at first.

While the mango is despised in Paraguay, and municipal collectors consider it garbage, in Spain the mango is sold between $2.80 Euro and $3.95 Euro (when packed in syrup), i.e. between $15,540 Guarani and $21,900 Guarani, at the supermarkets.

In the United States, the fruit is sold from $2 a kilo, and in Buenos Aires, consumers pay a dollar per kilogram.


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