Venezuela’s fuel shortages are causing growing complications for the production and delivery of food to a crisis-stricken nation that is in quarantine to stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to ten food industry sources.
President Nicolas Maduro’s government is struggling to provide fuel to the OPEC nation’s service stations due to chronic refinery problems and U.S. sanctions that have left most trading firms unwilling to ship gasoline to Venezuela.
Venezuela’s food production has plummeted after years of heavy state control over the farming sector, contributing to malnutrition and a humanitarian crisis during six years of economic recession.
Fuel shortages are making matters worse. In the Andean state of Tachira, close to the Colombian border, farmer Gerson Pabon fears he will lose his crops of potatoes and carrots because he cannot get enough fuel to harvest them.
And the wholesalers who buy his wares cannot find diesel to transport goods to capital Caracas, he said.
“How can we harvest our vegetables if we can only buy 15 liters of gasoline? That is not enough to go to the fields and return to the collection center,” said Pabon, 52. “If people don’t eat, it will get worse.” Reuters