U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Economist Erin Borror was in Paraguay earlier this month to conduct research on the country’s growing beef industry. Despite recent setbacks related to foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and the transportation challenges that come with being a landlocked nation, Borror says Paraguay is definitely on the rise as a beef exporter.

Paraguay’s largest export market is Russia, which currently takes about 52 percent of its beef export volume. But Paraguay’s exports to Chile are also recovering rapidly from an FMD-related market closure that began in late 2011 and lasted through 2012. Other key destinations for Paraguayan beef include Hong Kong, Brazil and Israel.

Through the first three quarters of 2014, Paraguay’s exports are up 16 percent from a year ago to 224,535 metric tons. Export value over the same period is up 26 percent to $993.1 million. Paraguay recently surpassed Argentina for 8th place among the world’s largest beef exports, and Borror expects it to overtake Uruguay in the near future.

Borror notes that Paraguayan exporters must rely on Montevideo, Uruguay, as their primary ocean port, moving containers of beef to Montevideo by river barge. Exports to Chile are transported by truck, but that is also an expensive proposition.