Hemp stakeholders in Paraguay are developing a supply chain based on production that starts with local indigenous communities and ends up in a growing volume of exports.
With a hemp law on the books since 2019, local companies have been advancing rapidly in the manufacture and export of raw materials and finished products, said Lorenzo Rolim da Silva, president of the Latin American Industrial Hemp Association (LAIHA).
The indigenous communities, which historically suffered the worst consequences of drug trafficking and a lack of economic opportunities, are now legally producing hemp for grain and fiber, Rolim da Silva said. Seeds are being donated by local licensed hemp companies and technical instructions on how to grow are being provided to farmers through partnerships between the companies and local government.
“Paraguay once again marks a historic milestone by becoming the first nation in the world to plant industrial cannabis with an indigenous community,” said Marcelo Demp, CEO of Paraguay-based food maker Healthy Grains and Vice President of the LAIHA. “It is very important to achieve the inclusion of indigenous peoples through this type of production, especially in an area that is medicinal plants, which they are more than familiar with,” said Jennifer Snaider, president of Deutsch Import S.R.L., a Paraguayan company that makes teas from hemp leaves and other Paraguayan herbs under the Cannafusion brand, and a peanut butter with hemp hearts, called Nature Seeds. The products are designed and manufactured in Paraguay.