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Venezuela’s Ministry of Urban Agriculture Faces Critics

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Residents attend a course about urban agriculture. Photographer: Manaure Quintero/Bloomberg

“Planters on Caracas balconies are not going to solve the growing problem of hunger in Venezuela,” said opposition lawmaker Maria Martinez, who sits on the National Assembly’s agricultural commission

By Andrew Rosati, Fabiola Zerpa
Bloomberg Markets
September 22, 2016

Excerpts:

Critics are quick to point to more than a decade’s worth of expropriations that left fields to fallow while a flood of cheap imports during Venezuela’s oil bonanza discouraged farming entirely. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Land, almost 1.2 million hectares (3 million acres) were nationalized from 2010 to 2015 alone.

Further complicating Maduro’s hopes of turning Venezuela’s cities green is that the country’s tight price and currency controls have made many critical inputs — like fertilizers, pesticides and replacement parts — either too expensive or simply unavailable.

“They’re going to face exactly the same problems we do,”said Pedro Vicente Perez, director of FEDEAGRO. “It’s quaint idea, but it’s certainly not going to feed the country.”

Read the complete article here.