Chacón pointed out the necessity of increasing the fruit harvest in the country, in order to raise the current per capita consumption of about 16 kilos a year. For this project , Fondafa (Fund for the Development of Agriculture, Livestock Raising, Fishery and Related Activities) has granted 77 billion bolívares.

Chacón referred to the plan that the government is designing to establish cooperatives of fruit producers in order to stimulate national fruit production, and its allocation in the national agricultural industry, that is currently importing its supplies mainly from Colombia and Brazil.

The director of INIA, Néstor Noguera, indicated that in the next few months, they hope to start this industrial project, that was proposed a few years ago. He announced that through a special plan by INIA, they will open new research stations to provide training and transfer of technology, in alliance with regional institutions.

In his magisterial conference, Colombian researcher for Corpoica, Mario Lobo Arias said that according to international standards, annual fresh fruit consumption should be over 100 kilos. He pointed out that the deficit in Latin America is 45 kilos, although Venezuela, as well as Colombia, has a high fruit production potential.

“There is a growing demand for fruit consumption throughout the world. In the United States, consumption may reach up to five portions per day. This has led to a high demand for tropical fruit, an opportunity we must take advantage of, by promoting economic development through the creation of micro-enterprises.” Noguera, president of INIA, explained that there are 1,100 different types of fruit plant in the country, and suggested as means to increase consumption, to elevate the levels of production, to offer competitive prices, and to link the primary sector of fruit production to the agricultural industry, in order to lower imports.

In order to promote cultivation, he asserted that Fondafa and INIA would provide technical assistance and 77 billion Bs. in loans.

“In Venezuela, there has been a culture of dependence on mining and oil extraction, and agricultural production has been left aside. Bananas are what Venezuelans consume most. They prefer imported apples, pears, and grapes to a tropical fruit.” Added Noguera.

A project for the production of cashews, that could also be set forth in Zulia, is already under way in 2,700 hectares in Anzoátegui (a state 300 kilometers east of Caracas). This project includes agronomic improvement, with expectations to increase the yield from 300 kilos of these nuts per hectare, to 4000 by the use of improved clones.