One of the grander achievements of Bolivarian socialism is to create hunger, an actual lack of simple food, in a tropical country where plants just burst out of the ground in their eagerness. It’s similar to that incredible achievement over the water in Cuba. Any rational farming system would have the markets simply overflowing with foodstuffs, socialism leaves all hungry. It’s a vivid proof of the stupidity of that basic socialist system.
However, it has to be said that Venezuelan farming really isn’t – or at least wasn’t – as bad as The Telegraph is making out here:
The 3,500 hectare estate in Venezuela’s agricultural heartland had, like all their land, been in the family for over 100 years; it was a productive, lovingly-tended finca. Expropriated in 2008 by the government, it is now a barren wasteland. When they came for her second farm, it was devastating. The 749 hectares of La Primavera produced three tonnes of maize, 9,000 kilos of yucca, and supported dozens of locals in Barinas state. Since it was invaded in 2016 it, too, is now in ruins.
Three tonnes of maize? Err, mateys.
Although yield is only a partial gauge of performance, it reflects the available production technology across farms. Average corn yield for the farms in 2013 to 2016 was 141.2 bushels per acre (8.9 metric tons per hectare). Average farm yields ranged from approximately 95.6 bushels per acre for the Brazilian farm (6.0 metric tons per hectare) to 187.7 bushels per acre for the Iowa farm (11.8 metric tons per hectare).
OK, that’s slightly unfair as the Iowa farm will be using the very latest and greatest technology. The Brazilian one will be mechanised at least. A problem in Venezuela as socialism means that the country with the world’s largest oil reserves imports its petrol and diesel. So, let’s try again. Yes, Zambian corn yields, 2.4 tonnes per hectare. And that’s where the technology is a few hand held implements and a lot of Mammie Power to drive them.
So that Venezuelan farm was planting perhaps the one hectare of maize? Or the Telegraph is written by the arts graduates who never did get to grips with numbers? Our money’s on the second there.
That’s before we even get to the yucca – which is more likely to be yuca, aka cassava, a plant entirely unrelated to yucca. An average yield of which is around the 10 tonnes per hectare. That is, the Telegraph can’t even do rural anymore. The most likely explanation of their numbers there being yields per hectare, not output of the farm.
O Tempora, O Mores, eh?