Farmers in Paraguay see major yield increases with GMO corn, despite degraded soil

corn cob
Credit: Inhabitat

10 years ago, a group of 14 peasant farmers in the San Juan Nepomuceno region of Caazapá took the challenge of ensuring their livelihoods through the use of biotechnology, according to a report from the Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology (Inbio).

Caazapá is a region with many riches, but in some areas its soils are very degraded. A group of producers is achieving success through work, permanent technical assistance, the introduction of sustainable practices and the correct use of biotechnology, with the support of the Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology (INBIO), reported Fabio Vega, extension specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG).

“When we started, [farmer] Don Trifón Ruiz Díaz had a yield of tupi pytá corn of 800 kilograms per hectare, his cotton was around 680 kilograms per hectare, and chipá corn at 700 kilograms per hectare, in a highly degraded soil,” [Vega] recalled.

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Díaz stressed that farmers were taught the correct use of biotechnology. “We learned about the varieties and their management, through which we were able to achieve better results …. [in 2019], when we had optimal weather conditions, we achieved significant yields,” said the producer.

Related article:  After centuries of failed attempts at breeding a blue rose, biotechnology does the trick

On that occasion, [Díaz ] corn yielded 7,000 kilograms per hectare; cotton, 2,970 kilograms per hectare.

[Editor’s note: This article was published in Spanish and has been translated and edited for clarity.]

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