Enormous gains have been made in Venezuela’s domestic industries during the past decade under the Chavez administration, aiding the country in decreasing dependence on the oil industry.
High-level members of the Venezuelan Executive Cabinet involved in the advancement of domestic industry, agriculture and tourism presented their annual reports to the nation’s congress and the Venezuelan people last Tuesday, spelling out the gains that the government has made in the productive sectors in 2010.
The reports were the latest in a series of presentations made by President Hugo Chavez’s cabinet members this month in accordance with the nation’s constitution, and were marked by important gains in the areas of industry and agriculture.
During his address before the National Assembly, Land and Agriculture Minister, Juan Carlos Loyo, reported that since President Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999, agricultural production has surged by 44 percent in the country, reaching a total of 24.6 million tons of food a year.
Milk production has seen an increase of 68 percent while staples such as black beans and corn have seen their production doubled.
According to Minister Loyo, the greatly expanded production of corn has meant “not only supply for the corn ﬂour industry built by the revolution, but also for the private corn industries”.
Corn ﬂour, the most important Venezuelan food item, is the basic ingredient in a range of local dishes including arepas and empanadas.
Over the years, the government has been working to augment its processing capacity in order to provide the population with uninhibited access to the commodity through its subsidized commercial food network.
Loyo pointed out that these efforts, along with other agricultural initiatives, have meant that the average yearly caloric intake of Venezuelans has increased by nearly 1 thousand kilocalories over the past 12 years, translating to greater nutrition for residents.
The Minister also highlighted a new measure called Plan Coffee which “has delivered 300 thousand land titles to coffee producers” in the country to stimulate the crop’s production and encourage young farmers to stay in countryside and produce for the nation.
“1,186 homes for coffee producers have been built and 7,375 kilometers of agricultural roads have been upgraded”, he noted.
Venezuela’s Minister for Science, Technology and Intermediate Industry, Ricardo Menendez, also presented his report on Tuesday to the National Assembly.
According to Menendez, the amount of Gross Domestic Product being invested in science and technology has risen by 500 percent since President Hugo Chavez came to power, leading to important advances in resident’s access to computers and the internet.
“We believe deeply in the socialist vision of society. It’s fundamental to transform a rentier economy to a work culture that comes from our hands…from telecommunications and from all those who are working to make Venezuela productive”, he declared.
During Menendez’s speech, the right-wing Venezuelan opposition continued with its disruptive and anti-democratic antics by attempting to prevent the Minister’s presentation through heckling and generally disrespectful behavior.
The conservative representatives were protesting earlier statements made by socialist congresswoman Cilia Flores who, after praising the national government for resolving the hunger strike adopted by a group of students outside the Organization of American States building in Caracas, accused the opposition of lacking patriotism.
“Today we can say that peace, democracy and full freedom triumphed”, Flores said with respect to the end of the hunger strike, which students used to request the explicit intervention by foreign bodies in Venezuelan affairs.
“Our call is for members of the opposition to be a little more nationalist” when dealing with internal problems, Flores stated.