Venezuelans Told to Grow Their Own Food

Alirio Ovalles walks at his family's urban garden in Caracas, Venezuela, in June. (Mariana Bazo/Reuters)
Alirio Ovalles walks at his family’s urban garden in Caracas, Venezuela, in June. (Mariana Bazo/Reuters)

Some Venezuelan city dwellers are trying to grow their own produce to offset the country’s severe shortages following socialist President Nicolás Maduro’s calls for “food sovereignty.”

But in a country where families are going hungry as a result of government mismanagement and sky-high inflation, many view the “Great Agro-Venezuela Mission” with skepticism.

“Agriculture shouldn’t be a solution” to the country’s shortages, said former landowner Iraima Pacheco de Leandro, 54, a well-to-do government opponent who lives in Caracas.

Critics have taken to social media to accuse the government of downplaying the country’s critical situation, and ridicule Maduro for trying to solve Venezuela’s dire food crisis through getting urbanites to farm small plots of land.

“Urban Farming in Venezuela. Thanks to @Nicolas Maduro” read one tweet accompanied by a photograph of a man and a dog sifting through trash, a common sight in Caracas as food supplies dwindle and black market prices soar.

“BBC Venezuela report has Chavistas explaining how they’re going to feed people, grow medicine, through urban farming. No, really,” mocked another Twitter user.

When the project was presented in February, the newly created Ministry of Urban Agriculture announced that 12,000 square kilometers — about 4,600 square miles — would be planted in the first 100 days. The government promised to invest $300,000 in seeds, equipment and educational projects, and to help with logistics.

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SOURCE: Sofia Barbarani  
The Washington Post