Regional food fund created

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, July 31, 2008 – A special multi-million US dollar fund established by Venezuela has been set up to help ensure food supplies to Caribbean countries and others who are part of the PetroCaribe agreement.

The Petro Food initiative, which will be financed through the proceeds from the sale of oil, was announced Wednesday in a joint declaration issued by agricultural ministers from 18 countries who met in Honduras. That country’s president also announced that his country is also joining the Venezuelan-led Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA).

An AP report indicated that that fund is largely backed by a Venezuelan promise to donate US$0.05 for every barrel of oil Venezuela sells at prices of more than US$100 per barrel.

It is expected to provide US$400 million to US$500 million per year for farm development and other projects in Central American and Caribbean countries, many of which already participate in the Petrocaribe plan, under which Venezuela provides oil at preferential terms and prices.