Maduro blames Venezuela's biggest food company for scarcities

Caracas, May 11 (EFE).- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused Polar, the country's biggest food corporation, of reducing production and hoarding products to cause scarcities in the country, and spoke of economic "sabotage" against his presidency.

"We have many indications that Polar has been...reducing production and hiding products to cause scarcities in the consumer market," Maduro said during a event obligatorily broadcast on all radio stations and television channels.

The president has summoned the owner of the company, Lorenzo Mendoza, to a meeting this Tuesday with all his management team to explain to the government "why you are reducing production, why are you causing a scarcity of products."

Polar produces some of the basic ingredients of the Venezuelan diet, such as the P.A.N. brand of cornflour, the essential ingredient of the famous Venezuelan arepas.

After a devaluation of the bolivar in February and the elimination of an alternative system that allowed the private sector to obtain dollars, companies complain that it is increasingly difficult to obtain currency to finance imports, food being one of the most important categories.

The local press published this week photos of long lines of people at supermarkets in the central part of the country, waiting to get food products like the indispensable cornflour. EFE