The director general of the Confederation of Associations of Agricultural Producers of Venezuela (Fedeagro), Gerson Pavon, said that they only had 3% of the vegetable seeds that the country needed because the seeds were not arriving in the country or are being resold at very high prices.
"We don't have fertilizers, inputs, and the seeds are not coming. We only have a few seeds to plant around 8 hectares of vegetables, that amounts to 3% of what the country plants," he said in an interview with Radio Union, a private radio station.
Venezuela has a pricing control system, where the state sets a ceiling on the selling prices of products. In addition, the state operates an exchange control system that makes it the sole authorized actor to market and manage foreign exchange trading in the country.
As a result, the state sells and distributes through Agropatria materials for agricultural production, including seeds, fertilizers, and agrochemicals. Fedeagro has warned farmers that it can't meet all of the demand and that the acquisition process of the materials is behind schedule.
Regulated products include seeds that, like many other products in the country have gone through shortages peaks due to the decrease in the amount of imports and the difficulty that companies have to acquire foreign currency in order to import them, he said.
"People who are getting seeds, are selling them at an exaggerated price. A can of carrot seeds should cost around 500,000 bolivars ($700 at the highest exchange rate), but it is being sold for 2 to 4 million bolivars (i.e. between 2,800 and 5,650 dollars)," said Gerson Pavon.
The representative of Fedeagro said that farmers had to deal with these price distortions due to "bad policies of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land." "We have told the Federal government that we can't continue fighting peddlars and resales," added the director of Fedeagro.
Pavon said that the work tables between the union and the government should continue, but urged the government to really listen to producers."