Agriculture is one of the most important sectors for the Paraguayan economy and is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. Approximately 55% of total land area is agricultural land, 12% is arable land, and 38.5% is forest area while only 0.2% of land area is permanent cropland. Western areas practice primarily livestock and cattle raising while activity in the center and eastern regions consists of crop production. Paraguay is recognized for its practice of conservation agriculture. Agriculture, forestry, and fishing represented 18% of GDP value added and 21.2% of total employment in 2017. Agriculture, principally soy and bovine meat, and associated industries represent 30% of GDP and 40% of exports (National Adaptation Plan, 2017). The Paraguayan government approaches challenges to the agricultural sector from a standpoint of food security and agricultural production in connection to growth and economic development. Subsistence and family farms produce cotton, beans, cassava, sesame, and sugar cane. Paraguay industrial agricultural production is concentrated in crops that are sensitive to changes in precipitation and temperatures like soy, livestock, corn, and wheat. Agricultural losses connected with extreme weather events such as drought and flooding are closely linked to decreases in GDP. The projected increases temperatures can place heat stress in crops and livestock while changes in precipitation patterns can expose agriculture to drought or damages from flooding especially near the Paraguay river. Sesame, cotton, and soy, specifically are expected to experience decreasing yields by 2050 under a business as usual scenario (National Adaptation Plan, 2017). Paraguay also faces challenges from deforestation, erosion land degradation, and managing pesticide use.
This section provides insights into the climate change impacts on agricultural productivity indicators and the trends in agriculture related socio-economic indicators.