Venezuela launches Ministry of Urban Farming to address severe food shortages

Last week, opposition lawmakers in Venezuela declared a “food emergency.” That’s because Venezuela is facing widespread shortages of milk, meat, bread and other staples.

Critics blame the government’s socialist economic policies. But instead of changing course, President Nicolás Maduro is calling on Venezuelans to help feed themselves — by starting urban gardens.

He is urging people to grow food and raise chickens in their homes, since 83 percent of Venezuelans live in cities.

To help them, Maduro announced the formation of a Ministry of Urban Farming. The president also claims that he and first lady Cilia Flores have taken up the cause.

Josefina Requena (pictured above) is among those who have heeded Maduro’s call. Cucumbers, green pepper, passion fruit and other produce grow in the front yard of her home in a slum in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital. She also has a chicken coop.

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