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Inflated Food Prices Hurt Venezuela’s Poor

Venezuela has the world's highest inflation rates which make it difficult for their poorest citizens to keep up with rising food prices.

Venezuelan market

Photo: David Blumenkrantz (Flickr)

While inflation rates have risen to 27 percent, salaries have only increased 22 percent.

Food prices are soaring and the poor are hit the hardest, particularly in Latin America. The wealth is spread out unevenly and the poor are having to bear the brunt of inflated prices of food and energy.

Both Prosperity And Inflation In Latin America

Like many Latin American countries, inflation in Venezuela shows the nation’s prosperity. At 27 percent, it has the world’s highest rate.

Increased global demand for goods like oil, coffee, soybeans, and copper has put more money into Latin American economies, but the rise in prices has soared beyond the rise in salaries.

As a result, the poorest citizens in Venezuela spend as much as 45 percent of their incomes on food.

Monitoring Food Prices

The Venezuelan government has addressed the issue by placing price controls on food, making neighborhood and school meal programs, and selling imported products through cut-rate state-run markets.

Unfortunately, this has not slowed the problem. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says Venezuelan food prices increased an additional 33.7 percent last year, and without adequate enforcement for the price controls, many vendors still charge more for their food products than they should.

Additionally, Venezuelans must cope with periodic shortages of milk, cooking oil, beef, and sugar.

Critics of the Venezuelan government say that despite its community food programs, lavish spending and government seizure of farmland has made it difficult to keep food prices down.

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Julie Rooney

Julie Rooney is a vegetarian, musician, and artist who primarily works in video and new media. Currently she is the director of Low Road Gallery, a non-profit contemporary art gallery located in Greencastle, Indiana.

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