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BMI View: Our outlook for Venezuela''s agricultural sector is cautious given the country''s uncertain political and economic outlook. The country has significant growth potential, but the government''s policies of expropriation have seen production of key crops decline and a growing reliance on imports. Although the poultry section, for example, is well integrated, arable production and cash crops such as cocoa or coffee have been poorly managed. Following the death of president Hugo Chávez, we anticipate a new presidential election within months and believe that interim president Nicolás Maduro of the ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela will win and will continue the interventionist policies of Chávez''s era.
However, we believe the pace of reforms may be more moderate and see significant potential for economic growth over our forecast period. This will, however, be dependent on the improvement of infrastructure and the adoption of more market-friendly policies.
- Corn production growth to 2017: 45.7% to 2.04mn tonnes. Despite ongoing challenges including a lack of fertiliser and low profitability, we believe that corn output will expand strongly on the low 2012 levels.
- Coffee consumption growth to 2017: 4.7% to 1.38mn bags. After surging by 48.3% from 2007-2012 owing to a steep rise in imports, our demand forecast for the coming five years is more moderate.