President Nicolas Maduro announced this weekend several measures to challenge “food mafias” and to secure the nation’s food sovereignty.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the creation of a special office to oversee the production and distribution of food in the country on Saturday during a meeting with the Vice President of Security and Food Sovereignty, Yvan Gil.
The government’s plans include an array of efforts to fight “food mafias”, including price speculators and smugglers. The government will also immediately initiate an audit of all imports through the National Foreign Trade Center (Cencoex) and the country’s tariffs and taxes body, the SENAIT.
The government also plans to create the Production, Distribution and Food Marketing Corporation (Corpo Pdval-Mercal), a new institution focused on building more efficient production, distribution and marketing of food. The Corporation will integrate already existing government entities such as Mercal food distribution centers, Pdval food production sites and Bicententario Supermarkets. Maduro explained that the goal is to increase distribution from 130,000 tons to 200,000 tons of food (between public and private sectors) within the first phase.
Venezuela will also re-launch the Agricultural Bank of Venezuela and the Center for Food Balance (Cenbal). The Agricultural Bank of Venezuela will oversee plans focused on agribusiness, while the Cenbal will provide real-time alerts on supply and food production across the nation.
President Maduro also stated that the government will create a Presidential Council of Peasants, Farmers, Fishermen, Fisherwomen and Rural Producers, which will come into effect October 14. The council is meant to influence government decisions from a rural agriculture perspective.