Venezuelan professional turns to goat farming to support family and stay in country

Global Business

Millions of Venezuelans have fled their country over the last three years, as the economic crisis there has made it difficult to buy even basic food supplies.

Many of those who have left Venezuela are members of its professional class.

One college professor changed course to make ends meet and to stay in the country.

Silio Sanchez wakes up every morning to the simple sounds of rural life. Three years ago, he decided to put aside his coat, tie and law books several days a week.

Once a full-time law professor at a prestigious university, now he’s teaching just two classes. He spends most of his time raising goats.

“At first it was a solution just for our own household, some food we could count on,” said Sanchez.

Initially, the goats were a way to provide milk for the Sanchez family. He said his salary as a professor did not cover even basic necessities.

Now he sells the milk and other dairy products at local markets. And it’s enough to support himself, his wife, and their two children.

According to the Association of College Professors of the Central University of Venezuela, at least 40 percent of Venezuela’s professors have left the country.

The main reason they give: low incomes that cannot keep up with hyperinflation. For Sanchez, goat’s milk has helped him stay in the country.

That milk is a lifeline for his customers as well. Sol Cisneros said if it weren’t for Sanchez, powdered milk is likely the only milk she’d be able to find or afford.

“Is not the same to find a liter of milk at a small price rather than the same liter twice at the price,” said Cisneros.

Sanchez’s goal is to produce all the food his family needs and be financially independent.

“We have to understand that not everything comes from a salary, and that we are able to produce our own things,” said Sanchez.

He’s now branching out, using the goats’ milk to make caramel and chocolate in addition to cheese. A professor and his family – with a lesson on one way to endure Venezuela’s economic crisis.