Venezuela and China Form Joint Food Company

As part of government initiatives to help increase food production and decrease prices, Venezuela and China signed an agreement to form a joint venture food company on Saturday.

By Tamara Pearson - Venezuelanalysis.com
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President Chavez with Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping, in 2009 (MPPRE)
President Chavez with Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping, in 2009 (MPPRE)

Mérida, March 8th 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - As part of government initiatives to help increase food production and decrease prices, Venezuelan Minister for Agriculture and Land, Juan Loyo, and the president of the Chinese Heilongjiang Beidahuang State Farm Business Trade Group LTD, Quian Biamo, signed an agreement to form a joint venture food company on Saturday.

Heilongjiang Beidahuang Nongken Group Company is a state-owned enterprise mainly engaged in agricultural products, including grains, oil-bearing crops, beets, fruit, meat, milk and marine products.

The agreements were signed during a meeting of ministers. There, President Hugo Chavez said a group of Chinese experts had carried out soil, water, and vegetation studies in various states across Venezuela to help “increase the food reserves of our people”.

According to Chavez, China produces enough food for its 1.3 billion habitants, and also exports food.

Chavez said the Chinese company harvests 3.5 million hectares of land and produces food for 100 million people. He also said Venezuela has around 2 million hectares of unused land that could produce food for, “around 500 million people, and [here in Venezuela] there are 30 million inhabitants.”

To achieve that, Venezuela will need training, infrastructure, machinery and technology, genes and seeds, as well as good conditions for farmers and rural workers, Chavez said.

“With the support of China, with the work of all Venezuelans, with scientific work, we’re going to convert Venezuela into an agricultural power on this continent,” Chavez said.

Biamo also said his company “has a lot of experience and very good technology ...which will help Venezuela be a leader in agricultural development in the world”.

The Chinese company will help Venezuela with various varieties of seeds, such as rice, corn, Venezuelan black beans, vegetables, as well as with live stock and milk. According to Chavez, rice seed planting in Apure state will begin this June.

The agreement with China is part of the Venezuelan government’s aim to achieve food sovereignty, where the country does not depend on any food imports. This is within the framework of two laws, the Land and Agricultural Development Law and the Law of Agro-Food Security and Sovereignty.

"There is a food crisis in the world, but Venezuela is not going to fall into that crisis," pledged Chavez in 2008.

In February 2009 Francisco Arias Milla, representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Venezuela, recognised the efforts of the Venezuela “to introduce policies, strategies, and programs to confront the global economic crisis and the volatility of food prices, and at the same time to protect the food and nutritional security of the Venezuelan people.”

Last year Venezuela and China signed a range of bi-national agreements, mostly in the areas of energy and petroleum. China also offered US$20 billion in financing, the largest offer it has made in the last fifty years, according to Chavez, who said such an agreement was a long term one and based on principles of scientific planning and common interest. The money will go towards infrastructure, agriculture, energy, petroleum, steel, and gas projects in Venezuela.