Venezuelans Fall Back on Cheap Banana and Cassava Just to be Free from Hunger

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Gone are the days when most of the famous Venezuelan dishes like Chivo En Coco, Asado Negro, and fat roast beef were served for dinner. For a traditional Venezuelan family, these delicacies were a part of a never-ending tradition for generations. What used to be a regular menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is now a luxury.

Back then, a middle-class Venezuelan family can afford to serve these delicacies; but today, a menu that is full of proteins and calories has drastically changed in the blue-collar neighborhoods. Child malnutrition has significantly increased, and each family barely makes ends meet.

Reports say that in order to avoid skipping meals, people turn to cheap and starchy root crops like manioc, yucca, and cassava. Just like potatoes, these vegetables can be boiled and mashed – they can be fried too. Some even opt to turn these vegetables into gluten-free flour.

There is also a significant increase in the demand for bananas; this means that bananas also became a cheap alternative for full meals.

It all started when the government implemented a strict rule on food rationing. The surge in malnutrition and starvation cases was made worse due to the uncontrolled hyperinflation. As a result, a lot of Venezuelans in the working class choose to skip breakfast and save the plate of rice for dinner.

Today in Caracas, many unemployed and poor people are rummaging through the garbage which is not the usual case. For someone who is malnourished, the risk associated with garbage can be deadly.

Their predicament does not end on hyperinflation; they are also confronted with problems like water service disruptions and power outages. These problems complicate food preparation and food storage. Due to this, Venezuelans go for food that is easy to prepare and can last a few days without the use of a refrigerator.

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