Puebla, Mexico, May 19, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced Thursday his government had secured a major wheat deal with Russia.
“We are ready, all … trade agreements have been already signed and very soon Russia will supply Venezuela with 60,000 tonnes of wheat per month on a stable basis starting from this year,” Maduro said, according to state media outlet AVN.
The import agreement could be a major lifeline for Venezuela, which for years has struggled with food scarcity. Venezuela imports the overwhelming majority of its basic foods. According to Russian government estimates, last year Venezuela imported around 120,000 tons of grain from the US and Canada. These imports have long been controversial, with the US agricultural sector being dominated by genetically modified (GMO) crops. Venezuela banned GMO crops in 2016. Along with Venezuela, Russia is one of a handful of countries that have likewise almost entirely banned GMO crops. Around 0.01 percent of Russian crops are GMO, according to the country’s food and agricultural authorities.
Maduro dubbed the new deal with Moscow a “win-win”, before describing Russia as a “moral and political giant”.
In exchange for the wheat imports, five new companies will be established in Venezuela to manufacture Russian industrial vehicles.
The deal was announced after a phone conversation between Maduro and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. According to Russian state media outlet Tass, the two leaders discussed how to deepen ties between their countries.