Venezuela’s local offer of fertilizers was insufficient to meet the requirements of the national 2004 cultivation plan. Despite the fact that it is an oil producing country, with enough gas reserves, industrial installations and qualified personnel for the production of this and other elements, it will be necessary to continue importing these products in order to fulfill the requirements of the agricultural plan.

There’s no argument over the achieved advances, no doubt about the Bolivarian government’s clear interest in propitiating endogenous (generated from within) development, in productive diversity, in aggregating national value to our production, in the substitution of imports, in creating jobs, in promoting general occupation of our territory, in favoring integral rural development, and in guaranteeing the nation’s food supply independence; but the result of all the efforts carried out show that there is still a long way ahead. The case of the fertilizers sets an example.

One of the fertilizers required for the cultivation plan is urea. The current production plant capacity for its production in Venezuela is 1.7 million tons: 750,000 in the El Tablazo plant, 200,000 in Morón, and 750,000 in Jose. This year’s demand for the plan undertaken by the Ministry of Land and Agriculture (MAT) -a clear political action to overcome food supply dependability- is 400,000 tons. This cultivation plan will make it possible to attain the goals set forth by the Venezuelan government.

But believe it or not, the supply of urea for this year is only 275,000 tons, barely 16% of the installed capacity. It will be necessary to import 125,000 tons to complete the required 400,000 tons. How can one explain that in spite of having all that is necessary to produce more than a million and a half tons of urea, in a country where the demand for this mineral is less than one fourth of its production capacity, we have to import almost one third of what we need this year?

Well, the answer is in what the president said recently: It is necessary that governmental action have more efficiency. It is necessary that the different Public Administration organisms work coordinately. It is necessary, for this particular case, to increase production in the El Tablazo petrochemical plant. For this purpose, it is necessary to guarantee gas supply, to handle gas production in western Venezuela efficiently, and to coordinate efforts, first internally between Pdvsa-gas and Pdvsa-production two subsidiaries of the state owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, Pdvsa, then between Pdvsa and its subsidiary Pequiven, and finally between Pdvsa Pequiven, and the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture.

In this way, it would be possible to achieve the required production of urea and to guarantee its adequate supply fore the farmers. This will also make it possible to reduce agricultural supply imports for the cultivation plan. But most important of all, it will make the petrochemical sector contribute directly to national development, a task that has not been fully undertaken because of the old Pdvsa culture. This new integration will be a factor of greater efficiency in the governmental efforts.

Published in Quantum No 30