Venezuela Announces Massive Push to Import Food , Goods

PORLAMAR , VENEZUELA - Venezuela will
massively boost its food and basic
supplies imports in the next two months
to counter shortages and high inflation ,
a minister said .
Vice president for the economy Rafael
Ramirez did not specify the products , or
amount of goods , the country would
purchase, as he spoke to reporters on the
sidelines of the South American Oil and
Gas Congress, at the country 's top
Caribbean resort Isla Margarita.
Ramirez , who is also minister of oil and
mining, said a plan will soon be
announced for Venezuela , which is highly
dependent on basic commodity imports.
Since President Nicolas Maduro took
office on April 19, Venezuela has seen a
cyclical increase in shortages of sugar ,
coffee , oil, milk and toilet paper , among
other products .
Meanwhile, annual inflation in
September soared to 49 .4 percent, the
highest in the past 13 years , according to
official data.
Ramirez said that the government
wouldn' t exclude any supplier in its push
to buy goods , even though Maduro holds
that food shortages are part of an
opposition conspiracy to foment protests .
The president announced Monday that
Venezuela had reached an agreement
with Brazil over the importation of food,
mainly soybeans, corn and meat. In
September , the country bought $ 600
million in various products from Colombia
next door.
Venezuela 's agriculture minister said in
September that the oil- rich OPEC country
of 29 million imports 50 percent of its
food.