When the project was presented in February, the newly created Ministry of Urban Agriculture announced that 12,000 square kilometers — about 4,600 square miles — would be planted in the first 100 days. Eight months into the project, only 21 square kilometers (about 8 square miles) of land have been cultivated, according to the ministry.
By Sofia Barbarani
Nov 1, 2016
Some Venezuelans try to look on the bright side of the experiment: Producing their own food can reduce the time spent on the streets of Caracas, where crime is skyrocketing. For De Leandro, who was once kidnapped for ransom, this is a comforting thought. She grows a stunning array of vegetables on one of her terraces.
But not all Caraquenians have enough land to cultivate produce, and water is also in short supply due to a drought.
Barbara D’Ambruoso, 24, whose vegetable plot overlooks the sprawling city, has learned to carefully measure her water usage. “They cut our water supply from Saturday afternoon until Wednesday,” she said, alluding to government measures in response to the nationwide shortage.
Below D’Ambruoso’s hilltop home, one can see cramped apartments — part of Chavez’s housing mission, introduced by the late president to provide rent-free accommodation to the poorest families. Hardly an ideal setting for a lush little plot of land.
But limited land is not a restriction, says the Ministry of Urban Agriculture, suggesting that citizens can produce 20 kilos — nearly 45 pounds — of fruits and vegetables with just one meter of land.