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Venezuelan Grain Production Drops; Strong Imports Expects

Venezuelan Grain Production Drops; Strong Imports Expects

11 April 2014
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

VENEZUELA - Venezuela is a net importer of agricultural products and depends on food imports for about 70 per cent of its food supply.

Agricultural production continues to stagnate or fall due to government price control polices and lack of inputs. Further reductions in production continue to be offset by promises of government subsidies, which last year made up about 50 per cent of total farmers’ income.

One exception to declining production is the production of corn which is expected to steadily rise due to continued growth in the poultry industry. The agricultural sector is severely suffering from a deteriorating supply of farm equipment, transportation infrastructure, low quality seed and soil conservation.

Grain imports will continue to be strong to make up for the lack of production. Wheat and corn imports are expected to rise to keep pace with rising and pent up consumer demand. Rice imports are significantly higher than previously reported due to new and more reliable information regarding imports from third countries.

Contraband grain exports continue to be a major problem for the government with illegal rice exports to Colombia reaching historical levels last year. Ending stocks are difficult to estimate and can be misleading as there is no formal strategic reserve policy and imports are erratic with lengthy delays causing inventory control problems.

Rice ending stocks were reduced below normal average stock levels over the past few years reflecting the rise in contraband exports and the reality on the ground.

The Ministry of Food held meetings with Venezuelan wheat millers and requested they import more Argentine wheat in 2014. It is not clear how the imports will be conducted, or how much volume will be imported. The Argentina government closely controls grain supplies making it doubtful Argentina could fulfill Venezuela’s total wheat import needs.

Further Reading

You can view the USDA GAIN: Venezuela Grain and Feed Annual 2014 report by clicking here.

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