Food sovereignty is a mere formality

Warning: The criollo elements of this pabellón may differ.
Warning: The criollo elements of this pabellon may differ.

For quite some time, the Chavernment has sold us the premise that Venezuela is pretty strong in food sovereignty. But in the last few weeks, the wave of shortages has put that concept to the test at home, forcing Vice-President Nicolas Maduro to get personally involved and launch a new plan in response.

Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic’s Agriculture Ministry confirmed last week what we all know: our food sovereignty is a mirage:

“…(Dominican) Agriculture Minister Luis Ramón Rodríguez announced that the Dominican Republic will produce more than 10 thousand tons of black beans in the year 2013 to be exported to Venezuela, as part of the Petrocaribe Accord, suscribed with that nation years ago…”

Those caraotas in your pabellón criollo (one of our main national dishes) are probably not that criollas. Neither is the white rice, which may have come from the Empire itself, or the meat needed to make shredded beef, thanks to the almost 200% growth in foreign imports last year alone. National producers cannot even get close to compete in the same levels.

What about the plantain to make tajadas? Well, it could still be criollo after all, but local production had some setbacks and now we have to share some of that with Russia.

Even if the Chavernment insists in denying it, its policy of bringing in massive food imports has undermined the so-called “sovereignty” and hurt our domestic sector. Instead, the partners in Petrocaribe, ALBA and Mercosur are reaping the benefits of those sweet “oil-for-stuff” deals.

And then, I realize that Quico’s definition of the Maduro Doctrine also applies here.

Here’s the Article 305 of the Constitution, regarding the State’s role in food security:

“…and consequently shall guarantee the population a secure food supply, defined as the sufficient and stable availability of food within the national sphere and timely and uninterrupted access to the same for consumers. A secure food supply must be achieved by developing and prioritizing internal agricultural and livestock production, understood as production deriving from the activities of agriculture, livestock, fishing and aquiculture. Food production is in the national interest and is fundamental to the economic and social development of the Nation.”

Does the current food policy match those guidelines? Not really. In the end, they are just simple formalities.

The State indicate otherwise. So, let’s better ask some ordinary folks about that…

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.