Stevia World Americas Speaker Sergio Chase, Director General of Imperio Guarani says the Stevia cultivation in Paraguay needs a stronger value chain and fair pricing for its long-term sustainability. Read more about our discussion with Sergio below.
The FDA’s sign of approval for Stevia rebaudioside-A is having a positive spin off effect in Paraguay. A new investment agreement between the US and Paraguay will encourage cultivation of stevia in Itapua region, located in the south of Paraguay. Under the agreement, non-profit NGO Paraguay Vende is to receive funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to train farmers. The plant which is actually native to Paraguay will now provide livelihoods to one of the poorest regions in Latin America.
The first company to produce steviosides in Paraguay is Imperio Guarani, who started way ahead of the others in 2003. Since then, they have already established a growing program and extraction and purification facility to produce steviosides.
Using what their director general Sergio Chase describes as creation of “Stevia Belts”, Imperio Guarani identifies leaders who then ‘recruit’ their fellow farmers and manage them. His agricultural engineers work closely with the leaders and farmers to refine and improve growing practices. As a result, 40 hectares of Stevia in the “Estancia Pindó” – Curuguaty uses 100% irrigation, and is the first and only one in Paraguay.
According to Sergio Chase, “stevia is a sustainable industry” which “benefits local communities because it’s a very good alternative crop for farmers”. However, he also emphasised that the long-term success in stevia production will depend on strengthening the supply chain and buyers paying a good price for Stevia Leaves.
At Stevia World Americas, Sergio will be sharing his company’s experience with stevia cultivation and contract farming. You can confirm your seats for the conference happening on Feb 25-26 in Atlanta by submitting your registrations online.