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Corn, Rice & Wheat Imports to Continue to Meet Food Demand

05 April 2012
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

VENEZUELA - Venezuela is expected to continue importing significant amounts of yellow corn, rice and wheat to meet domestic food demand and requirements of the animal feed industry and to offset decreasing domestic grain production.

During the last ten years, Venezuela has increasingly turned to imports to meet its demand for food. According to the FAO figures, Venezuela imports more than 70 per cent of its food supply.

For grains, all the yellow corn used by the animal feed industry and almost all the wheat is imported and it is now importing about 40 per cent of its rice demand. Two years ago Venezuela began importing white corn (a product that is part of the basic diet of Venezuelans) for the first time since 1997.

Misguided agricultural policies were exacerbated by bad weather conditions (particularly the devastating rains of December 2010) that drastically decreased the country’s corn and sorghum production of 2011/2012. Rice production has been recovering after two years of poor harvests but imports will still be needed.

The Bolivarian Government of Venezuela (BGV) publically states that food production is in the national interest and is fundamental to the economic and social development of the Nation.

In January 2011, the BGV launched “Mission Agro-Venezuela”, which has three main goals: increase production of staple crops, increase the amount of land under production, and promote and stimulate urban agriculture.

The programme will provide low-interest loans, machinery, and technical assistance to farmers all over the country. A fund of one billion bolivars ($232 million) has been assigned. The government aims to cut food and agricultural imports by 30 per cent in the first year of Mission Agro-Venezuela.

Despite these plans to increase domestic production of feed and food, the gap between supply and demand is expected to remain large, and significant imports of basic feed and food grains will be needed to maintain consumption in the coming year and beyond. Post expects imports to continue strong, based on domestic food demand and the need for more feedstuffs by the expanding poultry and pork sectors.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

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