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There are plenty of writings about how a collapse “should” be, or “should look like”, filled up to the top with all kinds of suggestions, “tips”, warnings and precautions that should be taken. That is fantastic.
All of this must be considered.
Information is like grain. You must select it carefully before processing it.
A part of the grain is for consumption, another part goes right to the chicken coop, with luck, and the best ones destined to be sowed.
I’ve plenty of friends and acquaintances still trying to make a living, even under those precarious conditions.
The worst part of the economic collapse has already passed and people have slowly understood that they can´t keep working to receive useless and worthless currency.
The mafia has injected (illegally, I guess, as the most parts of what they do) hundreds of tons of dollars to increase the liquidity they destroyed themselves, with shadowy intentions.
Maybe not so shadowy after all, if we see the hundreds of kilos of all kinds of drugs that “someone” is smuggling all over the place.
How this amount of illegal product circulates in our roads and gets through the airports, is a mystery for me as a civilian. Unless, of course, those responsible to keep the country safe are busy in some other “activity”.
OK going back on topic, I have received reports of those still bravely resisting in our homeland, and this information is first hand, carefully put together in a coherent manner so you can get the most useful amount of data you can.
Some of my former coworkers used to have family with ties to the countryside. Being naturally oriented to the productive activity of the eastern Venezuela fields, they have connections with such producers and know the environment, methods, and meanwhile not being specialists, they know enough about the subject to get some profit back from a good crop.
With this, we arrive to the description of how that first (and main) activity is being developed in a collapse, within the quite limited means available. I have personally witnessed how people working in these 3 areas have performed.
I use to write about facts and results, that’s what you must expect to find in my articles.
Please take note of the following disclaimer.
This is not intended to be a list compiling what you should study to be the most wanted employee in the next collapse. It’s just a simple, reliable and proven testimony of how some people, who could not or would not flee and leave our beloved and sunny country behind, are surviving and getting enough food on their table, medicines, clothing, and generally sneaking into the dark waters of this induced collapse á-lá Cuban.
1. Small Scale Farming and Food Production
This seems obvious? It is not. Small farms in Venezuela never were excessively productive, with some honorable exceptions I personally know of. It takes a lot of hard, back-breaking work. Being smaller, usually, owners don’t invest in tons of machinery, even if they could have afforded them at some time. They may have some grinding equipment, for cattle feed and such. Small tractors are found expensive for many owners. I know because they have talked to me about this and listened.
Cheap Chinese spare parts could make equipment fail in the worst possible moment and ruin the entire crop, so they prefer renting or trading in some way when they need plowing or some kind of tractor work. They hire laborers to crop, or rent the needed machinery, once again.
Those who rent just have a good time once crops are ready. Younger people are not just willing to face it, truth be told. On the other hand, in the past, when credits were more or less easily accessible, small farmers preferred not to take any additional risks, taking their business to a peaceful stagnation.
The land passed on to their descendants, usually to be broken up and sold a piece at a time, making the original prepared, worked on, plain-leveled, and sweat-irrigated crop lot lost forever as a productive unit.
For those who understand what the Green Revolution is really about, and its implications in traditional farming you probably already get the entire picture I intend to transmit.
Farmers were (some of them, surprisingly, still are!) used to the “government” supplying them with seeds, pesticides, fertilizer, machinery, everything, at subsidized prices.
That’s great until that same “government” then starts to starve people, to get rid of two or three generations, and to be able to CONTROL the coming ones.
Larger farmers are now getting organized somehow, but without all the chemicals they are used to spray and add, and the genetically modified industrial seeds, it’s delusional to pretend crops like those they used to get in better times. This has been told by people inside the business, there in Venezuela. They are as moanful and cry as much as the Rigoletto, although they keep farming, at a lesser scale, but they still do it to some degree.
Going back to the point, if you are a small farm owner, and still, some sort of order is in place, even without the skills, or if you are too…loaded with the effects of all the time walking this God Blessed Earth (so to speak) you could cut a renting deal.
As an example, in one side of the country, something that increased transport costs (our corrupted political class, even BEFORE uncle Hugo never bothered in building railways nor trains, they just received bribes from the owners of the truck companies to NOT build them), corn production was about 2.4 tons per hectare.
In my hometown, crops producing 3.5 tons per hectare were considered poor and exiguous. A huge advantage is, the town is located nearby to a dam made over 50 years ago as a result of following a development plan made by real, down to earth governments that knew what to do, and how to do it.
This allows gravity irrigation to the crops and supplying water to populated places downstream the ancient river the dam feeds from.
Interestingly enough, this water reservoir allowed the survival of the town in more modern times.
For some reason unknown to me, and as I mentioned in my previous articles, the fishing activity is quite scarce as far as I know, although there was a project to grow a local variety of river fish, quite good adapted to our warm tropical waters.
Those with small farms, have been able to diversify their production, and given they don’t need large amounts of industrial pesticides, the little production of this item that makes their way to the (black) market, is enough for them to supply locally.
Very few large farms are in business now. Please understand this is a plan engineered by foreigners: to destroy the local food production in order to establish totalitarian control. But it seems to me, they did not make it.
I have seen this trend in both areas of the country I have a close relationship with. Small farmers, with space enough for a relatively small pig shed, another shed for cows, chicken coops, nothing too big, and with enough land to have 8 or 10 different plots with different compatible plants, are surviving.
Many of them have maybe an old tractor or rent one. With the collapse, some of them have taken their machete and a file, getting a good edge, and molding a hardwood chunk, and use it to plow, tied up to an old horse, or even a bull.
In several places, they have thrown some local fish in their ponds, and have some sort of supply to complement their meals. Mechanized farming is expensive, and many small scale farmers just can’t afford it.
The need for a constant supply of spare parts and other consumables larger farms have, these small producers just don’t have it. As the demand for food has not decreased, the income to these small farmers has been increasing, as the larger businesses still standing are really struggling.
This is changing, though.
I just saw a video where Cargill is now trying to grow wheat in Venezuela. 60 years using the financial exchange system, buying wheat overseas, with our money profit from oil production…and it happens to be that wheat can be adapted as a local crop, called “Casiquiare” wheat. Go figure. That´s an ancient South American indigenous word, it´s the name of a region.
People fighting one another over a half kilo package of pasta. Living abroad has expanded my mind in too many things, to be honest.
Grow what you eat, and eat what you can grow. Whenever you need to eat something out of the regular diet, just barter some excess product you’ve got. Oh, and BTW you are going to crave something different to eat. Trust me.
This is a link of a video about this (please activate the automatic translation in your youtube account settings):
Most of the people are surviving because of their high ingestion of beans of some kind. Portuguesa State, in the West/South part of the country, with immense flatlands, plenty of water and sun, and fair weather, used to be known as the “Barn” of Venezuela. Huge silos to store all of the rice production of the 90s (I think we produced enough to export some years), and a 24/7 truck chain supply was in place, to move packaged products to every corner of the country.
They actually had a strong competition, in the supply management area with other companies, like beer and soda producers, to see who could reach the largest area.
Those producing stuff like sugar cane and the resulting derivatives (this was used traditionally much before white sugar appeared on stage, with all the health issues it seems to bring us now), coffee beans (usually the same producer roast the beans…haven’t had tastier coffee in any place than this from my homeland, sorry Java fans!)
A large water reservoir is another common trait.
Unfortunately, robbery is serious. This is to be expected, though, and usually ends tragically, but that is not the main topic of this article.
To finish with this topic, I find that people with land have divided their location to cultivate the following basic items:
- Something to sweeten up stuff including sugar cane, stevia, or plain old honey lots of beans (with our weather crops are constantly growing),
- Corn for dual purpose (not making ethanol) but feeding cattle, swine, and chickens
- Lots of fruits, and vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber, eggplant, and pumpkins and many roots like potatoes and yucca
- Spices including a small local variety of sweet pepper that is very tasty, not hot, and used in our traditional meals, also basil, rosemary, and garlic in some places
There are large variations here, but for the most common jobs, like fixing a W.C. or a sink, prices per job are between $8 to $10, from beginning to end. Remember, houses in Venezuela are made of cement, and floors are mostly covered in porcelain.
Plumbing, when it involves breaking the floor, usually needs someone else repairing the floor and installing the tiles, to assure the aesthetical quality of the job.
Plenty of people who used to do this chore migrated, and it is getting harder to find someone skilled and trustworthy.
But if you’re known locally and have the tools, maybe a good stock of materials and such (highly recommendable if you have the space to store it), I have seen guys working on this collecting money enough to buy an old little car and maintain it and generally improve their financial situation.
Not everyone can afford to maintain a car these days anymore, trust me.
These guys hardly could have done it with the former state of the economy, where the competition was much more abundant, and that indicates to me this line of work is a candidate in a collapse.
However, take note, this can be a dirty, unpleasant and even involve some hazards. Working with wastewater and getting an open wound is a major issue, and has to be treated immediately.
My advice? Look for some basic/intermediate plumbing training in some local center of your community. Nothing to lose, and you´ll find out interesting things about your ability with manual labor.
It’s very likely you´ll meet interesting people and that you will make some good connections. Of course, it takes time to work on this like a pro, but if your goal is just executing some emergency repairs, this is the way.
In the long run, you could produce that diploma and show it to potential customers, if you someday need that extra income. Why not?
This is an entirely different creature to plumbing and everything else.
Therefore, I will not advise you towards this, unless you know what you´re getting into, but I surely can narrate what I´ve seen happening.
My dad is an electrician and has been as long as everyone in town can remember. He’s been getting shocks since Edison walked the Earth.
He is highly respected (there are hilarious jokes about he and his relationship with electricity) andhe is still on the job. He works in a rural area. No one else has anywhere near the knowledge nor the experience he’s got. After 55 years he’s got all the connections and made friends with most of them. Clients appreciate them, and he arrives home many times with fresh eggs, a couple of 25 kilos cases of tomatoes, or 10 liters of raw milk, or a 4 kilos chunk of fresh cheese. Even before the collapse.
He’s got tons of materials this way. Say one customer decided to replace his control box, already suffering the effects of our tropical climate outdoors. My folk’s then received the call, the customer looks for him at home (he stopped driving some time ago, for our peace of mind), drives him to the hacienda early in the morning, provides lunch, and drives him home again in the afternoon, usually with the old part he replaced.
This is a secondary business: rebuilding used/discarded stuff or dismantling and selling the raw materials remaining: copper and/or aluminum. Steel too, but it´s paid at much lower prices. Therefore, my dad rebuilds those parts, mostly contactors, switches, breakers, electric motors (this in partnership with a cousin of mine, as this is hard work with special tools, and needs knowledge), maybe actuators, and all kind of electrical parts. Venezuela has plenty of resources, but not copper.
We know how important this material is (was?) for development, as much in the general heavy and light industry as for manufacture and building construction. Thankfully these last few years, new alloys made with mostly aluminum have been merchandised, to substitute copper.
As a metallurgist, I should add that aluminum alloys instead of copper are quite better, just because of the low price and versatility of the material once it has to be recycled. Sure, copper is unbeatable for certain applications, but we metallurgists have to be creative sometimes, and the lack of availability of certain materials have made Venezuelans be innovative and resourceful.
Thanks for your reading and I look forward to your comments!
About the Author: Jose Martinez is a former worker of the state oil company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon