Facing the world’s worst recession, food and other essential supplies are running perilously low in Venezuela. Now President Nicolas Maduro is calling on residents in cities to grow their own vegetables.
CCTV America’s Paul Barber reports.
Venezuelans heed Maduro\'s call to start urban farmsFacing the world’s worst recession, food and other essential supplies are running perilously low in Venezuela. Now President Nicolas Maduro is calling on residents in cities to grow their own vegetables. CCTV America’s Paul Barber reports.
What appears to be luscious green fields deep in the countryside, is actually a state-owned farm in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas.
Retired administrator Luisana Galvis helps to grow 30 different types of vegetable here.
“This is about food sovereignty, which is our responsibility. If we sow and cultivate in our own homes, nobody can come to take that away from us and nobody is going to sell it to us. We have it ourselves and so we reduce the cost of life,” Galvis said.
Maduro wants citizens to grow fruit and vegetables on their roofs, balconies, and gardens to help alleviate food shortages, the result of looting and rioting from the country’s economic crisis.
“We were born in cities and in cities we got used to only consume what others produce,” Maduro said. “Eighty-three percent of the inhabitants of Venezuela live in cities and only 17 percent live in the countryside. That means we must build an urban productive culture, necessarily new, absolutely new, that is urban agriculture.”
Venezuela has a vast supply of land. But agriculture fell by the wayside when oil was discovered a century ago. Now crude accounts for 94 percent of foreign income, meaning the fall in oil prices has hit Venezuela hard.
Some of the country’s new urban farmers aren’t convinced Maduro’s plan can feed the nation.
“It’s illogical to have a grand plan for urban agriculture given how fertile the land is in Venezuela. If I had to give an answer, I’d say no, I think they’ll fail,” Owner of Casa bistro restaurant Omar Sharam said.
But other urban farmers, such as bank worker Militza Perez said that there are lots of nutritional benefits to Maduro’s push.
“Everything we are planting here, herbs which are high in iron and other minerals that serve to complete the table. We’re not growing to fill our stomachs, but to eat better,” Perez said.