Farmers in the Venezuelan state of Yaracuy said Thursday that they plan to harvest more than 220 million pounds, or 100 million kilos, of corn by the mid-November end of the season, pushing the country's corn production to record levels.
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State Governor Julio Leon presided over an official ceremony in which he inaugurated the beginning of the harvest season. He said 2,100 farmers had planted nearly 55,000 acres of white corn at the start of the season.
He stated that the government obtained US$331 million in bank loans to finance the crop cultivation program, which will represent a fifth of all white corn production in Venezuela, enough to supply the entire country with cornmeal for a month.
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Cornmeal is heavily used in the South American country – especially in the famous national dish, arepas – and corn represents the staple food of Venezuelans.
"This is a joint effort between the government and people who are invested in production that exceeds 100 million kilos and is the highest-ever record in the state,” said Leon.
The politician from the ruling United Socialist Party, or PSUV, added that this record achievement came despite the efforts of opposition groups who've tried to sabotage the area where the crops had been sown. “Today we are starting a wonderful harvest that will mark a very important precedent for our region," Leon said.
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Venezuela's opposition says the country is facing a "humanitarian crisis" due to a lack of food and essential goods, a view echoed by international media.
However, the socialist government has said the widespread food shortages in the country are the result of the right-wing opposition's "economic war," which has also led to runaway inflation, in an attempt to destabilize the country and remove President Nicolas Maduro from office.