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A major food shortage that has emptied supermarket shelves in Venezuela and forced some in the city to eat dogs and cats has led others to forage – and some are doing it successfully.
Fruit trees, in fact, are no longer just a decorative plant in Venezuela; they are now the only source of food for some people.
For these Venezuelans, the primary source of food now is mango, coconut and papaya trees.
“Sometimes when there’s nothing in the fridge, I grab two mangoes,” 13-year old Juany Iznaga told Reuters. “Mangoes help a little; they fill you up.”
In recent years it was common to get the fruit only when wanting a sweet treat. Often, fruit would rot.
Now, Venezuelans are regularly using long poles to knock mangoes and other fruit such as papayas off trees. The nation’s economy has collapsed.
“Now we can’t throw anything away, not even the skin,” Iris Garcia said of mangoes.
In fact, a black market for fruit has developed in Venezuela. As supermarket shelves empty, many people are making ends meet by selling fruit on street corners.
“This work is easier,” Josue Moreno said. Moreno quit his job at a bottled water factory to sell coconuts on the street. “Coconuts take care of themselves; you don’t have to do anything.”
When he worked at the bottled water plant, Moreno made just $7 a month on the black market rate, Reuters reported.
Another man, Adrian Vega, is eating a diet of crackers topped with mangoes.
“And by the looks of it,” he told the news service, “I’ll be eating mangoes for several more days because that’s what we have.”
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