Located in the north of South America and at the Carribean Sea, Venezuela is a tropical country with a population over 30 million. Being at the northern tip of the Andes mountain range, Venezuela’s territory largely occupied with forests and mountains. Of the 24.5% of land that is used for agriculture, only 3% is arable.
Agricultural production focuses on the following food crops: rice, maize, sugar cane, bananas, and other fruits. The agriculture sector accounts for only 3.8% of the country’s GDP and employs 7.3% of its working population.
Venzuela has to import a large amount of its food. The country is dependent on agricultural imports of soybeans, wheat and maize among others. Agricultural and food trade generates up to 15% of national imports. In fact, 88-99% of the food energy consumed in Venezuela comes from crops that are not native to the region. Concerning crop diversity and food security, Venezuela significantly depends on other countries.
Due to the tense political and economic situation food supply has been regulated and food security in Venezuela is threatened. Ensuring that notable imports such as maize and wheat are able to adapt to the challenges that agriculture faces today and tomorrow is of the utmost importance to Venezuela.
Venezuela ratified the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in 2006, joining 134 other contracting parties in commitment to the global system for the conservation of crop diversity.
Data: FAOSTAT, CIA Factbook, World Bank, National Geographic
Image Credit: Eduardo Fonseca Arraes