Food supply has stabilized nationwide and agricultural production has increased significantly in recent years, according to José Agustin Campos, president of the National Confederation of Farmers and Cattle Breeders (Confagan) and Agriculture Minister Elias Jaua. December 11, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)– Food supply has stabilized nationwide and agricultural production has increased significantly in recent years, according to José Agustin Campos, president of the National Confederation of Farmers and Stockbreeders (Confagan). In a separate announcement, Venezuela´s Agriculture and Land Minister, Elias Jaua, announced that production of food crops in Venezuela has increased 52 percent in the last decade.
“Food is in full supply nationwide,” Confagan president Campos said in a year-end report of the organization. “This year’s results have been absolutely positive, we will finish this year without any concerns and with important growth that has stabilized and generated confidence in consumption and supply.”
In recent years, food scarcity has been a concern often voiced by opposition sectors and the mainstream press. For now, at least, the problem seems to have faded.
“Three years ago, there were [less than] 11 million heads of cattle, and today there are 13 million,” Campos explained. “National production covers about 70% of the demand, with about 30% imported.”
Ten years ago, meat consumption was 280,000 tons annually, which increased to 540,000 tons today.
“Milk production has gone from three million liters daily to six million [in the last three years], with the demand at ten million,” Campos detailed.
He also outlined a plan for the financing of 40 loans with a total value of 80 million bolivars ($40 million), which will “have an impact of 120 million additional liters of milk per year,” according to Campos, and aim to benefit small and midsize producers.
With regards to agricultural production, Campos indicated that ten years ago, 700,000 hectares of vegetables were cultivated, and today the production is around one million hectares.
Campos highlighted public policies, along with the private sector confidence, as stimulating factors in the current growth.
“The levels of investment this year reflect the increased public and private investment, which has translated in food security,” Campos stated. “We have all the necessary resources to face the slowing of the world economy.”
In a separate press conference, the Minister of the People’s Power for Agriculture and Land, Elias Jaua cited statistics showing an increase of 6 million tons of food in the last decade, indicating an increase of 52 percent in that period.
The minister stated that despite the opposition media’s attempts to distort, record production in rice, corn, and milk have contributed to the current 20 million tons of food production in Venezuela.
“We’ve made a world of progress, but clearly there are still a lot of massive, unproductive landholdings we need to recover,” Jaua said. “The development of the country is only possible with the help of food producers, and with effective public policy that causes the growth.”
Jaua presented statistics showing that his ministry has approved 294,000 loans for a total of 10 billion strong bolivars, allowing the cultivation of an estimated 3 million hectares.
He also highlighted initiatives by the national government in this sector, including technological development, improvements in the seeds and methods of cultivation, improved genetic properties of the livestock, and a rise in the quality of life of Venezuelan farmers.