ASUNCIÒN, PARAGUAY — Wheat production in Paraguay for marketing year 2022-23 is expected to hit 1 million tonnes on better yields from similar acreage compared to 2021-22 with exports increasing to 280,000 tonnes, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

The Buenos Aires, Argentina, USDA Post expects the area planted for wheat to remain unchanged at 450,000 hectares. Practically all of Paraguay’s wheat is exported to the Brazilian state of Parana, which borders Paraguay and hosts the largest concentration of flour mills in Brazil.

‘These mills mix Paraguayan wheat with local wheat to improve the quality of the flour as it normally has higher protein and better gluten quality,” the USDA said. “Paraguay also regularly exports between 15,000 to 30,000 tonnes of wheat flour per year, with Brazil again being the main destination followed by smaller volumes to Bolivia.”

Total domestic consumption of wheat in MY 2022-23 is forecast at 720,000 tonnes in line with consumption figures for the previous two years. There are more than 30 flour mills with a processing capacity of 1.2 million tonnes of wheat that normally use about 600,000 tonnes a year.

Meanwhile, exports of corn in 2022-23 are forecast at 2.8 million tonnes as production returns to more normal levels of 4.5 million tonnes. In 2021-22 corn planted acreage, production and exports are all forecast at record levels with 6.4 million tonnes of production on 1.2 million hectares, leading to projected exports of 4.4 million tonnes. 

“This is due to a projected smaller planted area as the zafrinha soybean crop is expected to return to a more normal acreage if weather conditions allow,” the USDA said. “The availability of fertilizer for the corn crop in 2022-23 remains a concern. Retail prices of fertilizers have more than doubled in the past year, greatly increasing production costs.”

Corn consumption for 2022-23 is forecast at 1.9 million tonnes, which is unchanged from the previous year. The domestic bioethanol industry consumes roughly 1 million tonnes of corn per year, by far the largest market segment.

Exports of rice in 2022-23 are forecast to recover to 630,000 tonnes, milled basis, following disappointing results in 2021-22, when a severe drought adversely affected production and is expected to lower exports to 500,000 tonnes. At 120,000 tonnes, milled basis, consumption is unchanged from last year.