Soyabean exports from Paraguay dropped 7.3% in the first five months of this year compared with the same period in 2020, AgriCensus reported from the country’s central bank data on 10 June.

Paraguay’s soyabeans exports totalled 2.97M tonnes in the first five months of this year compared with 3.3M tonnes in the same period the previous year, according to the report.

Exports to Argentina, Paraguay’s largest soyabean importer, totalled 2.16M tonnes in the January/May period, a 19.5% year-on-year drop and representing 72.9% of Paraguay’s total soyabean exports in the period, AgriCensus wrote.

Meanwhile, Brazil acquired a total of 332,500 tonnes, a 41.2% increase from the 235,400 tonnes in the first five months of 2020 and accounting for 11.2% of total soyabean exports, according to the data.

Last year, Paraguay exported a total of 6.62M tonnes of soyabeans, up 35% compared with the 4.9M tonnes registered in 2019, AgriCensus said.

Soya oil exports totalled 172,800 tonnes in the January/May period, down 14% from the 201,000 tonnes exported in the same period of 2020, while soya meal exports increased 2.1% to 639,700 tonnes over the period, according to the report.

Daniel Hidalgo, head of BCP’s foreign trade department, told AgriCensus that soyabean exports this year were forecast to total 6.1M tonnes, down 7.8% compared to the previous year.

“This reduction in grain shipments was due to drought problems that were experienced at the end of 2020 and reduced yields for 2021,” Hidalgo said.

Exports to Argentina were expected to represent nearly 75% of the country’s overall soyabean exports this year, he added.

According to its latest update, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said it expected Paraguay’s soyabean exports in 2020/21 to total 6.6M tonnes and soyabean production to reach 9.9M tonnes in the current crop cycle, compared to 10.1M tonnes in the 2019/20 cycle.

The USDA also forecast exports of 2.05M tonnes of soya meal and 620,000 tonnes of soya oil in the 2020/21 crop cycle.

For the 2021/22 cycle, the US agency expected a soyabean production of 10.5M tonnes while exports were forecast to reach 6.5M tonnes.

Last year, Paraguayan exporters faced severe logistics issues due to low water levels on the Paraná River, AgriCensus said.

Low water levels continued to affect Paraguay’s soyabean shipments during 2021, the news agency added.