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Venezuela food shortage: Fingerprint scanners to be installed at grocery stores

In a move to reduce food hoarding and panic buying, Venezuela will install about 20,000 fingerprint scanners at grocery stores across the country.

Over the last year there have been long queues at supermarkets because of widespread shortages of basic goods.

President Nicolas Maduro said the shortages were due to manipulation of the food supply and prices.Venezuela food shortage

Last month the owners of several chains of supermarkets and drugstores were arrested for allegedly artificially creating long queues by not opening enough tills.

Nicolas Maduro has also accused Colombian food smugglers of buying up price-controlled goods in state-run supermarkets along the border.

Last week South American foreign ministers said the region would help Venezuela address the shortages.

The lack of staple foods and medicines in Venezuela has contributed to discontent and to frequent large, often violent anti-government demonstrations.

The economic crisis has been made worse by falling oil prices.

Venezuela’s plummeting currency rates and the falling price of oil by nearly half since November has diminished its supply of dollars to buy imported food.