Food sovereignty: Still a mere formality

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rice
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.

1 COMMENT

  1. JB : thanks for posting this piece , the problem for Venezuela isnt just one of dropping or stagnant production or lowering prices but also includes: (i) the cost at which it can maintain and or increase its oil production ( heavy and climbing) , (ii) its access to the funds which are needed to cover such costs ( given the justified distrust of so many investors- lenders ) . ( iii) the incapacity of Pdvsa to succesfully carry out such maintenance or increases. (iv) having to sell its oil at cut prices or with most payments deferred for many years (iv) the huge transactions costs involved in selling it having reagard to political rather than commercial factors. ( v) the huge cost of subsidising the petrochemical industry and the internal product market . Even if the price remains the same and the production doesnt drop, factors (i) to (v) can still cause the regime to crumble . The notion that high prices alone or the presence of big oil reservoirs will protect the regime from crisis it is over simplistic .

  2. I feel like we are back in time 500 years, exchanging black gold for little mirrows. I just wish it will end soon.

  3. “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”
    Kenneth Watt – Ecologist = Envirowhacko on Earth Day 1970
    Why should we believe these same type whackos now, climate “predictions” included?

  4. It is ironic that the food sovereignty policies or rather lack of policies is leading to a ration card. I wonder how much more people is willing to take before you start seeing food riots.
    In regards the paddy rice deal with Guyana, it was either negotiated by someone with no previous experience in this area or someone is actually getting a big “finder’s fee”. Either way, it was a bad deal. It seems yesterday when we were exporting rice to Colombia (Early 2000’s)

  5. “Food sovereignty” is nonsense. It has no meaning, not even for the demagogues uttering the words.

    You might have some projects and projections as to what and how much a country might produce. How much revenue they might bring in when sold internally or exported. Of course, you can expect producers of some staples of the local diet to continue doing well what they know how to do, and local people to buy their produce, because it’s what they know and like. But that’s about it. Some staples are even imported, traditionally. Also, you want that the prices of foodstuffs be low enough, accessible to most. How’s that to happen? Have local producers making the decisions they know how to make best, and don’t impede active international and national commerce. For the rest, food sovereignty is like cellphone or machine parts sovereignty. B-u-l-l-s-h-i-t.

    Enter, on top of our gigantic case of Dutch disease and of a bureaucracy traditionally engaged in obstructing (or bleeding white) anything productive, the utter economic and social madness called XXIst. Century Socialism, and attendant destruction of what scarce production there was of foodstuffs. Expect Venezuela to import everything. And food sovereignty under chavismo to leave the realm of fantasy for that of logical impossibility.

  6. whenever you read or hear some phoney socialist demagogue spout a phrase, such as food sovereignty, you can be sure that its real meaning is the reverse of the spin.

    Here’s the real meaning of food sovereignty:
    D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-C-E
    S-C-A-R-C-I-T-Y
    L-O-N-G–L-I-N-E-U-P-S
    M-I-S-M-A-N-A-G-E-M-E-N-T
    I-N-E-F-F-I-C-I-E-N-C-I-E-S.

    And it’s not all coincidental.

  7. That rice is just asking to be put on a plate along with some tajadas and carne mechada (If you can find any)

  8. Food for thought (pun intended).

    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2013/venezuela070513.html

    I can’t even begin to imagine they will actually go into a regular market. With an egg (when you can find them) at 3 bolivars per, the Egg Index screams major problems.

    They also have a trip to 23 Enero and Petare planned for urban agriculture. Where are the resident chavistas that always claim they want to visit the revolution? For $1100 (6930/27500 bolivars), this is a steal.

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