Caracas, July 13th 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan Minister for Land and Agriculture Juan Carlos Loyo declared on Monday that his country has made great strides in developing the dairy and beef sectors of the economy in its efforts to achieve food and agricultural sovereignty.
The minister said: “Our agriculture policies are integral and come with laws – among them the Land and Agricultural Development Law and the Law of Agro-Food Security and Sovereignty – that stimulate and take care of our producers.”
The government increased domestic milk production by 50% over the last 11 years to 2.5 million litres in 2010 and beef production by 43% to 560,000 tons, according to the minister.
“This is an effort that the government has carried out by giving land and finance to rural farmers, [the creation of] social production units, socialist units, milk plants, production networks, in other words, a satisfying development for all Venezuelans,” the minister said.
The government also announced last week that it had already begun the distribution of fair-priced olive oil in Venezuela, the result of recent trade agreements between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad.
Up until now, the market price for half a litre of extra-virgin olive oil in Venezuela has been 60 bolivars, but the Syrian produce will only cost 20 bolivars for the same quantity.
The oil will be sold through the state-owned company Venezuelan Industrial Supplies (Suvinca).
The government also revoked a decree last week that prevented poor street-sellers from selling basic products such as state-produced rice and pasta, which have fixed prices.
Some sellers, known as buhoneros, attempt to sell them at a price a little higher than the controlled price.
Chavez said the decree was aimed at large scale speculators rather than the buhoneros, who earn little more than enough to survive.
He said: “It’s not against the buhoneros that we have to be, it is against the mafias that are behind the diversion of foodstuffs. Sometimes they are private and sometimes public.”
Earlier this year and in 2008, Chavez accused the country’s largest food producer, the privately-owned Polar, of hoarding food, thus causing shortages to increase the market price of its products.
He threatened to nationalize the company if it did not obey Venezuelan law.