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Venezuelan state considers system to limit food purchases – Yahoo! News

CARACAS Reuters – A Venezuelan state is testing a system to limit purchases of food and other staples, local media reported on Tuesday, in a move that officials defended as necessary to stop contraband trade but opposition critics slammed as Cuban-style rationing.

The OPEC nation’s consumers have for months had to endure long lines or visit several stores to find basic products that run the gamut from toilet paper to butter, driven in part by a lack of hard currency to ensure imports.The state of Zulia in western Venezuela said it will launch a pilot program next week that uses a digital system to block shoppers from buying the same staple products at different stores on the same day.

“Considering the average size of a family, one person should only buy 20 staple products during the period that we establish, which we think will be one week,” Blagdimir Labrador, an official with the Zulia state government, told the newspaper Panorama in an interview published on Tuesday.

Venezuela’s price control system leaves the cost of basic products such as rice and flour considerably below their market value, creating a temptation for consumers to buy them in large quantities and resell them during shortages.

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