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A kilo of potatoes could cost 3,500 bolivars

Venezuela still waiting on potato seeds

Potato producers in the country fear for this sector's fate. Enmanuel Escalona, the director of the vegetable area of the Confederation of Associations of Agricultural Producers (Fedeagro), stated that the price of a kilogram of potatoes could reach 3,500 bolivars by December because of the absence of potato seeds and the precipitous decline in production.

Escalona also stated that "we expect that there will be no seeds to plant in 2016 because the State, in what is yet another move against the productive sector, has hindered the arrival of the seeds to Venezuela."

Escalona said this would be the second year that Venezuela had no potato seeds, which would generate a drop in production where the country would only harvest an approximately 50,000 tons, which would represent a per capita consumption of 1.6 kilograms; nearly 3 kilograms less than what Haiti might consume.

In this sense, Escalona regretted that potato consumption, which is the fourth most important category within the domestic consumption, would decrease to these levels and would be lower than in Haiti, a country with famine problems.

Escalona recalled that they had been told on previous occasions that the seeds for import had already been paid. However, the government has refused to import these seeds, "because now they say they're not in the proper condition, which is really strange considering that they themselves were the ones who negotiated and certified the seeds' quality."

Escalona said the government might resolve to import potatoes so that the population isn't as affected by the lower supply; a practice that he condemned because it would go against the domestic production.

Previous cycles
Two years ago the country produced 220,000 tons of potatoes, which amounted to an 8 kg per capita consumption and an average price that ranged between 130 and 150 bolivars per kilo.

If producers don't have seeds, as is currently the case, production would decrease by 170,000 tons in two years, Escalona said, adding that if they had no production there would be nothing to eat.


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