Deterioration of food security in Venezuela is “palpable”

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / grynold
© Getty Images / grynold
Food shortages, economic slowdown and crop threat concerns are seemingly rife in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. We speak to Ricardo Rapallo, FAO Senior Policy Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean to find out what the current food security reality is in Venezuela.

“The case of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is very particular because it was the only country in the region where the prevalence and the number of undernourished increased between the trienniums 2004-2006 and 2016-2018,”​ emphasizes Ricardo Rapallo, FAO Senior Policy Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Estimations reveal that “5 out of 6 of the people who joined the undernourished population in the region during that same period live in Venezuela,”​ Rapallo expressed.

Describing the deterioration of food security in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as “palpable”, ​Rapallo goes on to explain that, due to its economic problems, the prevalence of undernourishment increased almost fourfold, from 6.4% in 2012–2014 to 21.2% in 2016–2018.

Cause and Effect

South America contains the largest percentage, sitting at 68%, of the undernourished in Latin America.

The economic slowdown in several countries, especially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is considered the core drive of low food nourishment, resulting in the increase in undernourishment levels amongst the Venezuelan population.

“Venezuela’s significant increase in undernourishment in recent years coincides with the country’s recession period, as inflation was reported to have reached circa 10 million percent and growth in the real GDP worsened, going from negative 3.9% in 2014 to an estimated negative 25% in 2018,”​ Rapallo stated.

In the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, there has been a reliance on a smaller number of export products causing an increase in commodity exporters.

Understanding and Awareness

In August 2019, fears have circulated around the possible infestation of fungus to Venezuela’s banana and plantain crops, which has already hit Colombia. The news, reported by an agronomists association​, is the latest in a series of blows for food security in Venezuela, which  may deepen the food and increasing hunger crisis.

US organisation, The Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York, in partnership with Sustainable Agriculture of Louisville (SAL), a US Food Sovereignty Alliance member, will visit Venezuela in late August, it has been reported​. Their aim is  to understand the true scale of food shortages, and if present what is responsible for creating this environment, along with the role of US sanctions and the impact on Venezuelans and their responses.

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