Venezuela has a 2,800 km coastline and a mountainous landscape. For this reason, transportation and general productive are hampered. Petroleum is abundant and dominates the Venezuelan economic structure. It accounts for about a third of the nation’s GDP, 90% of its export and over half its government operating revenues. The nation is also the fifth largest member of the OPEC, in terms of production. As a result of its bountiful natural resources, Venezuela’s economy has been one of the most thriving economies in South America. The economy has, however, steadily contracted, following the decline in oil prices in the 1980s. The economy is, nevertheless, prospering steadily now, particularly under President Hugo Chavez’s leadership. In fact, in the face of rising oil prices, paired with higher government expenditures, Venezuela economy grew by 9% in 2007.
The US is a significant contributor of foreign exchange to the Venezuelan economy, accounting for about 40% of the nation’s exports, according to 2009 reports by CIA World Factsheet. Other key trading partners of the Venezuela are Brazil and China, Columbia and Mexico. Major products of Venezuela’s trade, besides petroleum and gas, are chemicals, steel and agricultural products. In fact, the agricultural sector contributes about 4% of the nation’s GDP and employs 13% of the population.
Chief crops cultivated in Venezuela are: