Oct 17th 2013, by Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
Mérida, 16th October 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Three hundred and twenty Venezuelan technicians trained with support from the United Nations World Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) are being put to work to improve domestic agricultural productivity, President Nicolas Maduro announced yesterday.
Speaking to state broadcaster VTV, Maduro stated that the technicians have been trained with FAO support in countries including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Maduro said the 320 professionals will improve Venezuela’s domestic food production.
He also pledged to “double” the number of organopónicos operating in the country. First developed in Cuba, the organopónico is a system of organic urban garden currently being promoted by the Venezuelan government.
“Within a year, on 16 October 2014, I want to be inaugurating the establishment of agricultural organopónico number 80,000,” he stated.
The government aims to have just over 39,000 urban gardens operating nationwide by the end of this year. Currently, just over 24,000 urban gardens are in operation, according to government figures.
The announcements came as part of World Food Day commemorations. The day marks the founding of the FAO in 1945, and is used to promote global food security.
“Venezuela can celebrate World Food Day because of the Bolivarian revolution, thanks to the work of an extraordinary man, of our eternal leader and comandante Hugo Chavez,” Maduro said.
“Thanks to him our people have had the right to food and to advance social development,” he said.
“Venezuela has much to celebrate,” FAO representative to Venezuela Marcelo Resendez stated.
“On behalf of the FAO, once again our gratitude to this country that has a political commitment to eradicating hunger,” Resendez stated.
Earlier this year, the FAO awarded Venezuela for more than halving hunger within its territory. Currently, the FAO is supporting agricultural projects in around 80 municipalities across the country, according to the government.
“I want us to achieve the goal of zero malnutrition,” Maduro stated, reiterating that the government aims to completely eradicate malnutrition in Venezuela by 2019.
Maduro said that “97% of Venezuelans have access to at least three meals” a day, but stated that the government’s focus is on the remaining 3%. “It seems like a short stretch, but it’s hard,” he said.
“Congratulations to Venezuela for again saying publicly that it wants zero poverty,” Resendez said.
However, he stated that increasing productivity alone isn’t the solution to malnutrition.
“The only way to overcome poverty is by giving power to the poor,” he said.