Miller Center Fellowship

Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



Paraguay is one of the poorest countries in South America. Most Paraguayans fail to get the nutritional value they need with 25.5% of the adult population living under the minimum dietary consumption level (WHO, 2012). Food security in Paraguay is not primarily affected by food availability but rather by food access and food use, which are heavily influenced by poverty, education, culture, land tenure, and domestic agricultural production. Microfinance – the business of supplying financial services to poor people who are frequently excluded from the formal banking sector – is a viable vehicle for diminishing food insecurity in Paraguay by helping people to increase incomes, consume more, mitigate risks, and have greater empowerment. Microfinance institutions (MFIs) have swept the country with seven MFIs serving over 500,000 borrowers (Mix Market, 2012). Although microfinance does positively affect food security, it can have an even greater impact if it improves its services by incorporating behavioral-change education about nutrition through its workshops and through technology and by offering savings and insurance plans as part of its services.



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