In recent years the economy of Paraguay has grown rapidly, and demand for flowers (which have a high unit price) has increased. Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez has expressed his hope that Taiwan will assist his country in developing its orchid industry. In order to advance the diplomatic relations with Central and South American countries, and in response to this request from the president of Paraguay, the Council of Agriculture (COA), under instructions from the president of the ROC, has done an evaluation and laid out a plan for cooperating with Paraguay for investing in the orchid industry. The COA also organized a group to go to Paraguay on November 30 to check out the investment environment there.
The COA invited organizations including the Taiwan Orchid Growers Association, the Taiwan Sugar Corporation, and the International Cooperation and Development Fund to participate in a group to visit Paraguay on an inspection trip. Also, through arrangements made by the Embassy of the Republic of China in the Republic of Paraguay, the visiting group met with Denis Lichi, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, and other relevant officials, for an in-depth discussion on the development of Paraguay’s orchid industry. Minister Lichi expressed his gratitude to Taiwan for its long-term assistance in the development of Paraguay’s farming and fisheries industries. He also expressed hope that the ROC government will build on the foundation of the existing Technical Mission and encourage businesses in Taiwan to expand investment in Paraguay, assist in the commercialization of Paraguay’s orchid industry, and transform Paraguay into South America’s major producer of orchids. He also anticipated that the development of the orchid industry would assist women in Paraguay’s rural areas to increase their incomes and improve the quality of their lives.
The COA points out that demand for flowers has been growing steadily in Paraguay, but domestically produced flowers only account for 10% of flowers purchased. The remainder are all imported from neighboring countries. The primary method used by the Paraguayan government to invest in the orchid industry is the construction of an orchid demonstration farm. They undertake commercial production of orchids, supplying orchid products of stable quality at reasonable prices, increasing farmers’ incomes and the self-sufficiency rate for flowers in Paraguay, and broadening the scale of the industry by promoting market demand.
The COA further explains that its group visited Paraguay’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, and SENAVE (National Service for Plant and Seed Quality and Health), in order to better understand Paraguay’s investment environment and industrial guidance policies, as well as to gather relevant laws and regulations. At these visits the two sides discussed investment, agricultural extension and cooperation, tariffs, and plant import and export phytosanitary measures. These visits produced valuable reference information for future investment in Paraguay by Taiwan firms.
A meeting with Paraguay’s Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Denis Lichi and relevant officials (Minister Lichi is fourth from left, third from right in the front row is ROC Ambassador to Paraguay Diego Chou, and second from right in the front row is Hung Chung-hsiu, Director-General of the COA’s Department of International Affairs).