Alliance between Small Producers and Young Entrepreneurs
San Pedro is one of the poorest departments of Paraguay. Many of its farmers that were previously cultivated traditional crops, such as cotton, have been adversely affected by low prices and unfavorable climate, so they were looking for new products to earn money and to feed their families.
Such was the situation when three dynamic young owners of a new company called Hierbapar approached the farmers with a proposition. Hierbapar suggested that the farmers devote themselves exclusively to planting and harvesting natural herbs, which are widely used in Paraguay, with the commitment that the company would buy what they produce.
For the farmers it was a challenge to be carefully considered. The company was young and the prospects for gains by planting natural herbs were not very secure, but the young owners insisted that they had found a niche market because "the local demand for natural herbs was not entirely satisfied." For the farmers that had almost no other opportunity but leave their families and migrate to seek better prospects, the company’s promise of a fair payment for herbs provided an excellent alternative.
The farmers accepted the challenge and began to design and build nurseries needed to grow medicinal and aromatic herbs. Today, parsley, chamomile, thyme, basil, and other herbs abound in their plots. They sell all their products to the company, which dries the herbs and sells them in bags in supermarkets throughout the country.
Business is in booming and the company has already embarked on a second phase: Hierbapar is encouraging farmers to work as partners and to create cooperatives. The company aspires to certify organic farms and get better prices by selling organic certified herbs, as well as exploring the international market.
Based on the successful alliance already created, we are confident that this new challenge will be easily surpassed.