Food sovereignty: Still a mere formality

Tons of rice, tons of rice, my Esequibo for tons of rice!

The government has raised the official subsidy paid to domestic rice producers – from 2,50 Bolivars per Kilo to 3,60 Bs.

In spite of this, our producers shouldn’t feel too happy about that adjustment. Why? Beacuse days before that, the same government reached a deal with neighbor Guyana to restart imports of rice, as part of PetroCaribe’s oil-for-stuff deal.

In 2010, Venezuela agreed to a US$ 20 million deal to buy unprocessed Guyanese paddy rice. Now, the new deal is around US$ 130 million, as we buy their rice at a higher price in comparison to other Caribbean or European nations.

Looks like Nicolás Maduro will continue treating the concept of “food sovereignty” as a simple formality, as he doubles down on PetroCaribe as a way to exchange oil for other stuff such as food supplies and specially for political and diplomatic support.

That’s not all: in his ongoing trip abroad he’s buying more groceries and even some hygiene and cleaning products and in return, he guarantees “a permanent supply of oil”.

But perhaps he should start thinking beyond oil barrels. Those days are closing fast.

UPDATE: Mr. Maduro has signed brand new deals with Argentina, which include assistance in agriculture and food production. Argentina gets in return not only oil and money, but lessons about how the government can have full control over the courts.

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