HAVANA TIMES — The Venezuelan Food Industry Chamber (CAVIDEA) announced Monday that the government ordered private food producers to destine a considerable part of their products to public distribution networks, a measure that could worsen shortages at markets, DPA reported.
CAVIDEA Chair Pablo Baraybar reported that the National Agricultural and Food Superintendancy (SUNAGRO) called for the distribution of anywhere from 30 to 100 percent of milk, sugar, pasta, corn flour and oil through governmental commercial networks.
He said that destining such a large part of production to State markets would bring about serious consequences for the 113,000 private sale points across the country and for citizens in general.
The government order is for private production to go to the public network of hundreds of supermarkets and food sales points (many of them State subsidized) rather than to private stores.
“We’re running into this situation: companies are having technical problems to fulfill the goals. The distribution system is enormous,” the CAVIDEA representative pointed out.
Baraybar warned that, if 70 percent of pasta production is destined to certain distribution points only, the result will be that more than 80,000 customers will be left without the product.
“Evidently, the public will be the most severely affected by this, because there’ll be less locales selling these products. People will have less locales to go to purchase these products and this will create more lineups than we have now. Distributing products as much as possible allows people to go to the sale points closest to their home without the need to travel far,” he explained.
CAVIDEA declared that the new measure will not solve the problem of consumer product shortages and underscored that local production must be bolstered in order to resupply the market.
Once the largest food producer in the country, Empresas Polar denounced that the government instructed it several times to destine the entirety of its production to public distribution networks.
“The State operates more than 230 companies in the country, it ought to be able to meet production demands. If the State has 230 companies that ought to be doing this, we at CAVIDEA will fulfill our duty of aiding in the process, not providing full coverage,” Baraybar said.
Shortages at markets worsened over the past year and has led Venezuelans to regularly stand in long lines in front of supermarkets in search of the scarce consumer products.
The Shortages are accompanied by inflation which this year could rise above 100 percent, according to private estimates.
Owing to the fall in the price of oil, the pillar of Venezuela’s economy, the country will take in half of the income it did in previous years, a situation which has significantly reduced its ability to import products.