Homesteading Principles Could Stop A Fatal Food Crisis In Venezuela

The writer of these posts is a middle-class Venezuelan father, in a country which has the world’s highest inflation rate at more than 4000%. Venezuela is an economic collapse nightmare with extreme shortages of food, riots severe hunger, a crippled economy, crumbling infrastructure, collapsed healthcare system, and a failing government.

A number of years ago, Venezuela was the richest country in South America, now it is the poorest. Daily life in the former oil-rich country is plagued with starvation, violent crime, gangs, corruption, and child fatalities, and it is getting worse. In this post, the Venezuelan Prepper makes five recommendations, based on traditional methods, to boost food security.

Just this week, I saw some pictures that touched me deeply. They were images that made me go into a state that I find very hard to describe. In writing this article for you, I hope I am able to describe some sense of what is going on, and I am always interested to hear your rewarding comments and responses.

In writing this post I am contradicting what my government so strongly enforces, a monopoly on the food chain. They have tried to solve the economic collapse of Venezuela by controlling the food supply in the country, but they have failed. More and more every day people grow in hunger and consume less food. Now it has reached a point where children are dying of starvation. Soon, there won’t be a country left to save.

I don’t care if there is a risk to my safety. Seeing a picture of a starving child on my Twitter feed warrants me to say ‘enough is enough’.

Venezuela should not be in a food crisis

One of the most important and damaging effects of the economic collapse in my wonderful, rich and gorgeous country of Venezuela has been, as everyone knows, the food scarcity. I won’t go into the details about the reasons as to why there is a food crisis, and how it occurred. The causes are many and have different factors that influence them.

Food crisis in Venezuela

An indication of Venezuela’s food scarcity. Source: Central Bank Of Venezuela

Our society has never been one that has faced severe disasters, or natural events caused by bad weather, or plagues that have affected crops. Our weather is considered one of the most beneficial and stable types to grow foods. We don’t hurricanes or heavy storms like other areas of the world. There is snow just in the Andean mountains, and our coastlines have plenty of sea life for a stable food supply. We can grow whatever we need in decent amounts for the entire year.

With all of this in mind, it is very hard to sit here and say Venezuela is in a severe famine. So bad, that many children are dying just because they can’t get access to enough food. It is hard to explain to fellow readers from the prepping community that I write for, but I will do my best. This is what happens when an economy collapses.

Venezuela’s agricultural strength

Most of the Venezuelan population is, or was, concentrated in the cities. No surprises here, of course. Much like other western nations in the world, moving to the city comes with the promise of better salaries and general improvement of living conditions (not so much improvement nowadays though), and the reasons to leave out the crop fields and heading to the city has been more or less the same in every other modern country.

Talking with the elder farm people, like my father’s family, they told me that back in the old days of homesteading practices they would store  plenty of staple foods that last a long time like dried beans in 200 liters steel barrels, a sort of bread made with “tapioca” (a tubercle) called “cazabe”, a staple developed by the Amazonian tribes that is now a daily side dish all over the country. They would also store dried corn for processing and cooking a well-known dish called “arepa“, dry salt meat (similar to jerky, but without too many additives like paprika or other condiments) and dry fish. All of these foods were common preparations before the fridge and electricity became common. All of these were needed in the dry season. These healthy country customs were thrown out the window, though as technology progressed.

farming in Venezuela

Venezuela’s land is full of nutrients, the problem is, it’s not being farmed.

People got used to fresh meat, poultry, fish, and the “mechanizing” of the farming, simultaneously to the Green Revolution worldwide, quickly made the people forget about the need of stockpiling food for times of necessity. Who needed to stockpile, living in a major city where the kilo of flour was just a couple of blocks away in any mother-and-father-owned store. And now we are paying the price, indeed.

I am the kind of person who finds it hard to be sitting on too much spare time. I feel the need to build stuff, create, contribute, and write about all the avalanche of ideas flowing into my brain, especially after this disaster in my country.

For now, all I have been thinking about is the issue affecting so many Venezuelans, and I wanted to write what could be done right now to improve the local food production so that it can get back to decent levels, that avoid the worst, and more criminal effect of all the crisis: the child starvation.

How can we solve Venezuela’s food shortage? Do what we did before

As possible mitigation solutions for the widespread food emergency, in the country where I am, there is a lot of those called “superfoods” such as quinoa, cañihua, and chia. These are grains that can be cultivated within a short cycle, and there is lots of land in our Andinean mountains that could be used for this because the microclimate is good for that. Perhaps the altitude is much less than the original place of the crops but it deserves to give it a shot.

The approach to production would even be beneficial, because it would allow the rotation of the traditional crops, mainly onion, potatoes, carrots, and strawberries (yes, Venezuela is so wonderful that we can grow strawberries in the middle of the tropic, and enjoy a pineapple-strawberry smoothie) and would provide the farmers with another income source, and a know-how about a product that could be profitable in the near future.

food crisis in Venezuela

Some Venezuelans are moving to more traditional methods, such as urban farming wherever they can, even on rooftops in the capital Caracas. Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Jasso.

We have plenty of sun and rainwater in the place where I come from, as a matter of fact, I am starting to develop a project with specialists in nutrition, farming and other areas. The Andean grains have been, for a long time now, the main staple of the regional tribes, and recent research has positioned them as a very high degree of nutritional value. These grains, with origins in Peru and Bolivia, have been proven to keep a decent level production in some of the South American valleys. Their main attraction about them is their high nutritional value, and using modern-day technology could increase superfood productivity rates.

These grains have been included in several development programs looking exactly for what we need now: an exponential increase in food security, to provide assistance for the most vulnerable population right now, the elderly and the children.

Five Steps To Address The Food Crisis In Venezuela

There are five steps the Venezuelan government needs to carry out, with its communities, to address food problem:

1. Start using Venezuela’s food-ready land

Every owner of a plot of land suited for growing anything should start to prepare it.

There is no excuse for not doing growing food on land that is ready for it. People are at home and not leaving for work as the salaries are far too small and it is more difficult going to work without public transportation and the daily struggle for food. Instead, they are staying at home and doing some other work in exchange for food will be enough.

Specialist assistance is needed to maximize the production of the crops with the largest amount of nutritional content, and this is something that needs to be done immediately. The reports from the people starving and the pictures of their malnourished children in the social networks should indicate the need to address the food concerns right away.

2. Stop the corruption around food with police and security

The need for a proper surveillance is paramount. In the worst-case scenario, neighbors will not hesitate to trespass and massacre your farm to feed their starving children. Anyone that tries to defend it will be defending with their lives. This, and Venezuelan gangs want a ransom paid to leave you and your farm alone.

There is the need of some kind of passive defense, perhaps even concealing or isolation, with all that involves. Legal marijuana plantations in the US, Canad, and Australia are under immense security for the sake of money, the Venezuelan government needs to step in and provide the same security in their national interest of keeping their people alive.

3. Establish urban and regional farming communities

The rural and urban farming community needs to join resources, to get together the necessary means to processing the production. There is a lot of farm machinery that could be to be improvised and made from tools, and old, manual machines could be repaired and put to work. This is important as the scarcity of fluid and lubricants for the engine powered machines could affect labor and affect the production.

The idea is to take a step back in technology, in a more local and regional level, to produce food enough for the children and elderly of the communities. For this is necessary to increase in the labor force available, which goes to my next point.

4. Encourage Venezuelans to leave the city and move to the country

The people in the barrios (central part of the towns) should leave and provide assistance to the food production efforts in farming communities. A lot of people are suffering because they refuse to leave the barrios and go to the production fields. They could, however, take their families with them and follow a more homesteader lifestyle, build a hutch, and find a decent job in a farm, allowing them to cultivate vegetables and fruits for their families.

For Venezuelans, the traditional approach was to leave the country, I mean the crop fields, and move to the cities for a better opportunity. But people are reluctant to give up their living conditions in the barrios, and that is very much part of the problem.

5. Remove taxes on farmers to encourage more people to cultivate food

The government is seizing production from the farmers to feed the rest of the country. This is something that should be addressed too. The national cattle farmers association president of Venezuela, a 68-years-old farmer, was arrested a few days ago because he refused to give the 10% of the cheese production, to the National Guard, just because there was a regional decree imposing a “tax” to the farmers, seizing part of their production.

Circulating the national roads with semi trucks loaded with any kind of food has become an enormous risk as you may have verified already. Under this circumstances, local production should be already increasing, but people lack the skills, the properties, or even the needed strength, energy and health to start farming the fields.

I am starting with a project about I don’t have a clue, that, more than sure, is a potential risk for my personal security because of the attack from the government to anyone who tries to break their monopoly in the food supply chain. If this brings unexpected consequences to my safety I will have done what I considered right. If everything starts to go right, I will be more than happy to have provided help to people in desperate need. If it doesn’t they will have to take my shovel from me.

The Venezuelan Prepper is Jose M. A middle-class Venezuelan professional with a family who, before coming to live in a societal collapse, enjoyed holidaying, hiking, outdoors and evenings with his family. Now, he’s a prepper trying to survive in the world’s highest inflated economy. You can support him through his Paypal donation link here, or through his Bitcoin donation address: 3B2wuHTSWvkhUaaVf4baRiqeXy8UHTpm9w

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