The Chaco Region in Paraguay received US$148 million of investment in the past five years (and in 2022, it exported US$900 million)

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Chaco is experiencing an acceleration in the increase in investments, especially in recent years, and the execution of infrastructure works is one of the pillars on which the region’s growth will be based. How much capital has been injected into the region in the last five years, and what is needed to turn the Western part of Paraguay into a pole of industrial development?

Numbers are the best way to measure the development of an activity or area. And official data shows that in the Chaco, a territory whose integrity cost the lives of thousands of Paraguayans, there is an acceleration in the volume of investments in the last three years.

Between 2018 and 2019, the average investment in Chaco was US$6 million annually. Still, in 2021 there was significant growth, and the injection of capital reached US$27 million in the Western Region’s three departments, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MIC) data.

In 2022, investments reached US$66 million, and this year, it has already reached US$35 million. Summarizing, in the five years between 2018 and 2023, the total amount invested amounts to around US$148 million. 47% of the investment was concentrated in Presidente Hayes, a department with an accelerated process of industrialization; 52% corresponds to Boquerón, and the remaining 1% is located in Alto Paraguay.

Most of the investments occurred in the food industry, and in the agro-industrial sector, investments were made mainly in construction, so there was an increase in grain storage capacity. Cotton gins were also installed, and harvesters were purchased to support primary sector activities.

This year, the Chortitzer refrigerator also returned to operation after the fire it suffered. After the accident, the directors redoubled their commitment, and not only was the plant rebuilt, but it was expanded and went from a slaughter capacity of 800 heads per day to 1,300 animals per day, thus becoming one of the slaughterhouses with the highest production capacity in the country. The investment was US$ 25 million.

A separate chapter is that of the Chajhá refrigerator, which for now is awaiting its shareholders’ decision on the factory’s future, given the accusation that weighs against one of its partners from the US.

If the amount of labour demanded is considered, it can be seen that between 2018 and 2020, 82 annual jobs were created. In 2021 that number went to 302 and in 2022 to 1,017, although this figure includes the expectation of demand for personnel from Chajhá. And in 2023, 252 created positions have already been reached.

As of 2021, there is also an increase in the export of food products produced in Chaco. In 2022 it reached almost US$900 million, and this year, it is expected to exceed that amount. The percentage of exports from Chaco in the entire industrial sector is currently 17 to 18%, corresponding mainly to meats, sausages and dairy products. Before 2021 it was between 8 and 9%.

Chao’s Future

The investment projects augur a favourable future. “Among the plans are the setting up of a cotton fibre certification laboratory, in addition to other investments, mainly in irrigation system technology for productive units,” reported Francisco Ruíz Díaz, Vice Minister of Industry.

What is lacking? Beyond the good projections of future investments, Chaco still suffers from an infrastructure deficit to attract even more capital. The President of the Republic, Mario Abdo, had indicated that at the end of his five years in office, investments in infrastructure in the Chaco would reach US$2.5 billion. But it’s still not enough.

According to the Undersecretary of State, the Western Region needs further development in the infrastructure of the electrical system, which is necessary to increase Chaco’s production, and closely linked to this is water availability.

“The third challenge is the infrastructure in general, routes. Progress has been made, but there is still room for work. There is also a significant challenge in the availability of specialized labour because as production becomes increasingly complex, engineers in production processes, chemical engineers, and laboratory workers will be needed, and that is not available for now,” he said. Ruiz Diaz.

Source: Infonegocios

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