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Increased Planting Area Benefits Venezuela Feed Production

8 October 2012, at 12:50pm

VENEZUELA - Despite government plans to increase agricultural production, the gap between supply and demand remains large, and significant imports of basic feed and food grains will be needed to meet demand in the coming year and beyond. Post expects imports of wheat, rice and yellow corn to continue strong. The United States should remain a major supplier.

According to the Venezuelan National Confederation of Associations of Agricultural Producers, Fedeagro, the agricultural activity during the first half of 2012 generally was positive, compared to previous years.

The government has maintained a dialogue with farmer associations and has considered some of their needs when developing policies. This has resulted in an increase in the planting area for corn and rice.

The government decision to adjust the regulated prices of raw materials before the beginning of the harvest should also help reactivate interest in growing grain. Estimated planting for the winter cycle by producers belonging to Fedeagro is about 365,000 hectares.

The recently approved “Law for the Attention of the Agricultural Sector” should increase agricultural activity because the law is to support producers affected by natural contingencies of the last quarter of 2010. It will allow the restructuring or cancellation of the banking debts of agricultural producers if they had lost their crops.

The sector is still challenged by insufficient supplies, seeds and fertilizers that delayed soil preparation and therefore the crop harvesting. According to Fedeagro producers, more rice and corn was planted but production yields will depend on the climate and the availability of inputs.

The government manages 70 per cent of the inputs for the agricultural sector and the handling of the inputs for the winter cycle was somewhat inefficient. Producers claim that the supply of materials and agrochemicals were supplemented by private commercial firms, a more expensive way that increases the production costs.

The Bolivarian government is considering for the next six years a 70 per cent growth in the domestic production of cereals. Representatives of Fedeagro consider that public policies will be crucial in this process.

Despite government plans to increase agricultural production, the gap between supply and demand remains large, and significant imports of basic feed and food grains will be needed to meet demand in the coming year and beyond. Post expects imports of wheat, rice and yellow corn to continue strong, based on domestic food demand and the need for more feedstuffs by the expanding poultry and pork sectors.

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