Leveraging Big Data to Promote Sustainable Supply Chains: The Case of Paraguay’s Beef Sector

Published in: Annual World Bank Land and Poverty Conference

Cattle ranching is expanding in the Paraguayan Chaco and has contributed to the degradation and loss of forests and associated ecosystem services. Until the late 1880s, much of the Paraguayan Chaco was used by indigenous peoples; they now legally hold just a small fraction of their traditional land. Today, most land in the Paraguayan Chaco is private land, with a significant amount also in large public protected areas. Deforestation rates on private lands are considerably higher than on indigenous lands and lands in the public protected estate. As cattle production expands, the risk of more deforestation on private lands is high. Protecting the land rights of indigenous peoples could help secure their livelihoods and protect the remaining forests in the Paraguayan Chaco. This paper describes an assessment of the deforestation and land rights risks to meatpackers sourcing cattle from the Paraguayan Chaco, as well as the development of a bottom up platform for documenting indigenous claims to land in this region.