Updated 08:48 PM EST, Tue, Dec 10, 2019

Venezuela Suffers Food Shortage, President Maduro Asks People to 'Become Producers at Home'

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Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has come up with a way to solve his country's food shortage: producing food at home.

"Cilia and I have 50 chickens in our house," said Maduro recently, referring to his wife, Cilia Flores, as reported by Fox News Latino. "It's time to develop a new culture of production."

The president has recently announced the creation of another department called the Urban Farming Ministry, which is headed by Emma Ortega, the news outlet added. Ortega is a left-wing and colorful activist known to be Maduro's longtime friend.

"People have to solve the current emergency cultivating in any available space," Ortega said this week during her first meeting with urban farmers in Caracas, as reported by Fox News Latino. "We just need sun, water and a lot of hearth. Currently our cities are just food consumers and parasites."

During the past few years, Venezuela has greatly depended on food imports to sustain the needs of its 30 million people, Fox News Latino wrote. However, the huge crash in oil prices significantly reduced the country's purchasing power, which gave way to the shortage of the most basic goods.

Maduro's socialist government is providing workshops and classes to teach those who have no knowledge about farming. Maria Jimenez, a field technician with the government-run Siare Foundation, told Fox News Latino that all that is required is to have "any available place at your house with enough light."

Among the urban farming initiatives already in place in Caracas is the Bolivar's Crops Center. The 27,000 square-foot area was renovated last year, Fox News Latino reported. Pro-government groups are currently cultivating 20 different produce there, including lettuce, tomato, spinach, onion, and some medicinal plants.

Ortega said that the project aims to expand urban farming to every locality in Venezuela's urban areas, the news outlet added. Some people, however, are cynical of the idea.

"Venezuela's food production problems will not be solved with urban farming. They are caused by macroeconomic imbalances that need to be corrected," argued Tomas Socias, economist and former president of Venezuela's Chamber of Food Industry, as quoted by Fox News Latino.

He continued, "Ninety percent of the products made here need foreign raw material. That requires dollars and for that the government has to stop importing food to activate the national production again."

Socias added that creating new ministries is useless, especially now that the Venezuelan government should be cutting spending, the news outlet wrote. Aside from the Urban Farming Ministry, Maduro also formed the Department of Marine Life and Fisheries and the Department of Agricultural Production and Land. Socias suggested that these ministries could function as one.

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