Parana, Brazil Economy

Parana, Brazil Economy

South America

Agriculture and Livestock

Paraná’s main agricultural assets are wheat, corn and soybeans, products that have already achieved record-breaking harvests, in competition with other states. The soybean crop is the most recent of the three and has expanded both in the north and west of the state and, subsequently, in the south. Also important is the production of herbaceous cotton, mainly in the north. Coffee cultivation, which continues among the riches of the land, if it does not enjoy the same splendor of the past, still retains Paraná among the largest producers in the country. Its highest density covers the area west of Apucarana. Then come the lands of the Bandeirantes, Santa Amélia and Jacarezinho areas.

With regard to livestock, Paraná has a large herd of cattle and is always among the main Brazilian pig farmers, especially in the center, south and east of the state. In recent decades, herds of both oxen and pigs have expanded considerably. As in the other states in the southern region, in Paraná the ways in which land or forest land is used are different. In general, in the countryside, extensive breeding is practiced; in forest areas, plantations and artificial pastures for fattening are developed. The production of eggs, silkworm cocoons, honey and beeswax are also significant in Paraná.


In the second half of the 20th century, industrial activities took a considerable boost in the economy of Paraná. It was as a result of this impulse that increased urbanization took place, not only in the region around Curitiba, but also in hubs in the interior, such as Ponta Grossa, Londrina and Cascavel. The main types of industry are food products and wood. Curitiba is the largest industrial center and the main sectors of its industry are food and furniture, wood, non-metallic minerals, chemicals and beverages. The wood sector is dispersed in the interior, with important centers in União da Vitória, Guarapuava and Cascavel.

The most significant center for food products is Londrina. The main industrial unit in the state is the Companhia Fabricadora de Papel of the Klabin group, installed in the Monte Alegre farm complex, in the municipality of Telêmaco Borba.

Energy and mining

In addition to the Capivari-Cachoeira hydroelectric plants, on the Capivari river, northeast of Curitiba, and Júlio Mesquita Filho, on the Chopim river, in the southwest of the state, the Itaipu hydroelectric plant, the largest in the world, on the border with Paraguay, and built in conjunction with that country. Completed in 1991, it only then began to use its full capacity, of 12,600MW, which made Paraná the largest producer of electric energy in the country.

Parana’s subsoil is very rich in minerals . There are considerable reserves of sand, clay, limestone, kaolin, dolomite, talc and marble, as well as smaller ones (baritin, calcium). The state’s carboniferous basin is the third in the country, and the shale basin, the second. As for metallic minerals, deposits of lead, copper and iron were measured.

An essentially paranaense wealth, that of the pine forests, was quite threatened by the timber industry and by extensive agriculture. In 1984, the Paraná Land and Cartography Institute reported that the state’s forests were reduced to 11.9% of what they had been fifty years before, when the first forest code was implemented in Paraná. From the end of the 1980s onwards, the government began to discipline the use of soil and forest resources in accordance with a policy of protecting the environment and of continuous reforestation.


According to, the Paraná rail system enjoys a notable participation in the economic life of the state. It comprises two sectors: a northern sector, which serves the northern region of Paraná, and a southern sector, which links Paranaguá with Curitiba and Guarapuava. The two sectors join with a north-south line that passes through Ponta Grossa and Castro. This line is part of the railway trunk that connects Rio Grande do Sul to São Paulo and, due to its layout, does not allow an efficient connection from the port of Paranaguá to the main agricultural region of the state, which is the north of Paraná.

With the conclusion, in the 1970s, of the direct connection between the port of Paranaguá and the city of Apucarana, this situation was remedied, and the route was reduced from 630 to 330km. The extension of the northern and southern railway sectors to the western limits of the state was also concluded, the first to Guaíra and the second to Foz do Iguaçu.

The network of paved highways comprises two penetration roads, in an east-west direction: the Ourinhos SP-Londrina-Apucarana-Maringá-Paranavaí link; and the Paranaguá-Curitiba-Ponta Grossa-Guarapuava-Cascavel-Foz do Iguaçu link. In a transversal sense, there are the connections Apucarana-Ponta Grossa, Sorocaba SP-Curitiba and São Paulo SP-Curitiba-Rio Negro. The latter extends to the extreme south of Rio Grande do Sul and is part of the BR-116, which reaches the Northeast.

The port of Paranaguá, one of the most important ports in the country, was the object of an intense modernization program, with dredging, expansion of the pier, renovation of equipment, including the construction of a container and silos terminal with suction units.

Culture and tourism

The Federal University of Paraná was founded in 1912, and the Catholic University of Paraná in 1959. Of the existing museums in the state, the most important is the Paranaense Museum, in Curitiba, founded in 1876 by the historian Agostinho Ermelino de Leão, with historical collections , ethnographic and archaeological, as well as a library.

Another important institution is the Colonel Davi Antônio da Silva Carneiro Museum, also in the capital. Its collections, like those of Paranaense, were listed by the National Historical and Artistic Heritage. Its collection has archaeological, ethnographic and numismatic pieces. In Paranaguá, two museums attract visitors: the Museum of Archeology and Popular Arts, maintained by the Federal University of Paraná and which operates at the former Colégio dos Jesuítas, and the Museum of the Historical and Geographic Institute of Paranaguá.

The Historical Patrimony also registered, in the state, several monuments of architectural and historical value, such as the main church of São Luís, in Guaratuba, the main church of Santo Antônio, the historic house of Praça Coronel Lacerda, the house where General Carneiro died , on Rua Francisco Cunha, the upper floor of Casa da Cadeia, in Lapa, the old Jesuit residence on Rua Quinze de Novembro, and the fortress of Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres (or Barra), on Ilha do Mel, in Paranaguá.

Among the religious festivals, Nossa Senhora da Luz, in Curitiba, and Nossa Senhora do Rocio, in Paranaguá, are especially representative, accompanied by a large procession. Among popular festivals, Congada da Lapa, of African origin and in honor of São Benedito, in the city of Lapa stands out. Several popular dances persist in localities in the interior: the curitibano, a circle dance in pairs, the jigsaw, tap dance, the waltz, and the nhô-chico, on the coast. The various communities of European origin preserve dances, songs and costumes from their countries, especially those of German origin.

Cut from good roads and dotted with good restaurants, Paraná is a very attractive state for tourism. The capital, with its museums, gardens and universities, the Guaíra theater, the Passeio Público (with the zoo), the historical monuments of Guaratuba, Lapa and Paranaguá, and especially the Curitiba-Paranaguá Railway, deserve the visitor’s attention. one of the most notable works of Brazilian engineering. From the trains that cross it, there is a magnificent panorama that simultaneously involves landscapes of the mountains and the coast.

The railroad was designed, in the second reign, by Antônio Rebouças, brother (prematurely deceased) of the engineer, monarchist and abolitionist André Rebouças. Against the opinion of foreign experts that the government had invited to give an opinion, the road, opened to traffic in 1885, was built in a line of simple adherence. It has 111km in length, 41 bridges and 13 tunnels, 12 of which are dug in the living rock, in addition to the dashing Vicente de Carvalho viaduct, with 84m in length. Many of these works of art, designed to overcome the most difficult passages, are still considered of great audacity, for the topography of the region.

There are numerous natural accidents of tourist interest in Paraná, such as the red sandstone rock formations of Vila Velha, which look like dolmens, on the outskirts of Ponta Grossa; the limestone caves of Campinhos, in Rio Branco do Sul, and of Monge, in Lapa; the Iguaçu Falls, in Foz do Iguaçu; the Iguaçu National Park, with its forest reserve; the Ilha do Mel, with its beautiful beach, the lighthouse, the grotto and the historic fortress of Barra, in Paranaguá; the resorts of Pontal do Sul, Praia do Leste, Matinhos, Caiobá and Guaratuba.

The cuisine of Paraná testifies to the diversity of the origin of its population. The most typical dish in the state is barreado, which is enjoyed throughout the coastal region and made from meat cooked for a long time in a clay pot, until it crumbles. The barbecue is, as in the whole of the south, one of the most characteristic dishes of the interior, together with those of the communities of German, Polish and Italian tradition.

Itaipu River

Dam and hydroelectric plant on the Paraná River, on the border of Brazil and Paraguay. It is one of the largest in the world. Built between 1975 and 1991, it was scheduled to supply 12,600MW. In 1982, the falls of Sete Quedas were submerged by the waters of the dam, under protest from environmentalists.

Parana, Brazil Economy