A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
We are working to improve the lives of the rural and indigenous population affected by poverty, climate change and an agricultural production model which is exclusive and concentrates the land in the hands of the few. We are seeking to contribute to the organization of a fairer model for the country, one which has a more balanced use of natural resources, a fairer distribution of the wealth these resources generate and in which the most neglected communities finally achieve recognition of their rights.
There are 12 million head of cattle living alongside Paraguay's six million inhabitants, approximately half of whom live in the countryside. The meat industry and agriculture are the principle drivers of the economy. The country is also notable for its low tax regime: there is no tax on personal income or on the export of soya, its “golden grain”, which compounds the concentration of land: 2.6% of landowners possess 85.5% of the land.
Soya aggravates the land conflict in the areas along Paraguay's border with Brazil. The border is now completely in the hands of Brasiguayos, Brazilians who use more than a million hectares of Paraguayan territory for livestock rearing. The low price of land, almost non-existent taxes and cheap manual labor explain this appropriation, which is a new threat to land rights and the land of the indigenous and rural population, especially that of women.
Oxfam in Paraguay
We believe that the potential exists to improve the lives of thousands of Paraguayans and we are working closely with them to:
- Strengthen rural organizations, both mixed and women-only, promoting their alliances and improving their capacity to engage in dialogue and to put forward proposals for public policies which stimulate family-based agriculture, rural development and land rights;
- Regulate the agro-industry and demonstrate the viability and importance of family-based agriculture for the economy of Paraguay, to establish standards for national food security as a tool to create indicators for welfare, social development and gender equality in the population as a whole, but especially in rural areas.
- Improve fiscal policy, linking it to an increase in high-quality social investment, specifically aimed at family-based agriculture, sensitive to gender inequality and with positive actions in favor of women farmers.
- Reduce poverty, inequality and food insecurity of the indigenous communities, improving the resilience of their livelihoods and their capacity to adapt to climate change.
- Strengthen the indigenous communities to enable them to demand their rights and to insist on their participation in the design, control and monitoring of food security policies, reduction of the risks associated with natural disasters, land tenure and access to water and sanitation.