760,000 Tons of food to arrive in Venezuela this week

Caracas, May 13 (EFE).- The Venezuelan government said Monday that this week a shipment of 760,000 tons of food will arrive in the country, all of it being the product of agreements reached during President Nicolas Maduro's recent tour through countries of the Mercosur trade bloc.

"On this visit to Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil we arrived at some agreements ... (for) the first month of the food reserve, which is comprised of 760,000 tons," the minister responsible for food supplies, Felix Osorio, told state television.

The food will arrive after on the weekend Maduro said that Venezuela is suffering from an "acute shortage" of some products and complained that some private firms are hoarding food with the aim of destabilizing his leftist government.

Osorio said that the shipment cost $600 million and that it includes edible oil, milk, raw sugar and canned tuna, among other items.

The minister said that the government's aim is to bolster the country's food reserve to three months' supply, an amount equivalent to approximately 2.3 million tons.

Venezuela suffers from periodic food shortages, which forces many consumers to go to several stores to find all the products they need or want to buy.

Osorio said that the government is seeking to fight "the culture of importation" and foster domestic food production by following in the steps of major agricultural producers such as Brazil and Argentina.