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Miguel Ulises Moreno

The president of the Venezuelan Farmers Federation, Miguel Ulises Moreno, indicated that “the Venezuelan arepa (considered the country’s main typical dish, and part of the daily diet of most Venezuelans, made out of white corn flour, and usually stuffed with meat, eggs, fish, etc.) has been re-nationalized, that is, the current production of white corn renders any importation of this cereal for the preparation of arepas unnecessary”.

“This was the result of financing through the agricultural cooperatives, several governmental institutions such as the Fund for the Development of Agriculture, Fishing, Forest Activity, and the like (Fondafa), the Bank of Economic and Social Development of Venezuela (Bandes); other regional funds, and also private capital.”, said Moreno, who recalled that “the small farming sector accounts for 33% of national agricultural production”

“We will supply the IABA (Industry of Balanced Food for Animals) with great volumes. In this case, the State will mediate in order for the price to reach that of the imported products”, he added. He also explained that “since we have gone over 440,000 tons of corn, upon producing 600,000, the harvesting, transporting, drying, and reception capacities collapsed. We small producers don’t start a planting or sowing process without doing the commercialization first”.

That is why in our case losses are minimized, but we regret that the agricultural entrepreneurial sector has not laid out a plan to prevent this. Had it been possible to allocate the harvest of Portuguesa state, we would have reached, for the first time in our history, a one billion ton yield of corn.

Moreno commented that in order to avoid the loss of their harvests, producers are trying to take their production to other states that have an infrastructure for product drying and conditioning. “There is so much production that it is already surpassing the installed capacity. I think that this bottleneck should decrease in ten days and be normalized”

Last Wednesday, small farmer representatives exposed before vice-president José Vicente Rangel the need to establish a national dialogue on agriculture, where not only the Confederation of Agriculture and Cattle Farmers of Venezuela (Cofagan)is present, but also the National Federation of Cattle Farmers and the National Federation of Agriculture, “so that we can make a monthly or bimonthly balance of agricultural production issues, and also discuss the problems inherent to land ownership and lack of security”

Agricultural production and security along the border

As for the security problems that have historically affected small farmers, Moreno indicated that along the border, there have been 102 casualties “selectively assassinated, some by hit men, and others by guerrilla and paramilitary. The truth is that we agricultural leaders demand that measures be taken”

Likewise, the Farmers Federation proposed the constitution of a Common Bloc of Border Zone Production and Protection “through a civil-military plan implemented by the agricultural producers as the main actors, the National Armed Force and the state credit institutions”

“We know that the National Armed Force is acting through the activation of a special group created to safeguard our integrity in the rural areas. Besides, we think that the establishment of agricultural trade lines, that would bring about bilateral business relations, will make the situation on the border change in favor of interaction between we Venezuelan farmers and those of Colombia, who after all are not to blame for what is happening. Besides, the farmers of both nations are sons of Bolívar.”

Published in Quantum N.36