Food producers warn over chronic Venezuela shortages

GMT 08:12 2015 Friday ,11 December

Arab Today, arab today Food producers warn over chronic Venezuela shortages

People await in a popular market to buy food
Caracas - AFP

Shortages of even the most basic goods in Venezuela will drag on for months longer unless the government and incoming opposition-led congress lift import and price controls, food producers warned Thursday.

Four days after President Nicolas Maduro lost his legislative majority to the opposition in an election, industry body Cavidea warned that restrictions on foreign capital were blocking imports of raw materials producers need to manufacture basic foods.

"The supply chain is broken. There is no guarantee of a continuous, stable supply of produce," said Manuel Larrazabal, head of Cavidea.

"We do not see the situation improving in the next 120 days."

With a new opposition-controlled congress to be formed on January 5, Larrazabal said food producers were "open to dialogue and teamwork with all those in power at national level."

Maduro says Venezuela's food shortages and the election result are due to an "economic war" by capitalists against his socialist "revolution." He accuses businesses of hiding produce to cause a crisis.

Larrazabal said 60 percent of food producers represented by his organization had reduced production in the past year.

Cavidea also called on the government to abandon price controls for key products, such as coffee, which it says has not changed in price for a year and a half.

Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves, which Maduro and his late predecessor Hugo Chavez used to fund social welfare programs.

But plunging oil prices have crippled the country since Maduro was elected in 2013.

Voters punished him for the economic crisis that has Venezuelans standing in line for hours to buy basic food and goods.


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