Food prices in Venezuela have risen by an average of 72 per cent in 2013, thus giving the country the highest inflation rate for food items in the Americas.

The country imports more than 50 per cent of what it consumes. And imports are already pushing up prices given that the country's poor domestic production cannot support demand. Onions for example, whose production within Venezuela has drastically dropped, have seen a price surge of four hundred per cent over the past twelve months.

The government has promised that ingredients for the Christmas season's traditional 'hallaca', which is a boiled cornmeal pie filled with stewed meat, will remain affordable. Yet prices for the popular dish are only part of the problem, as many Venezuelan shoppers are just discovering.

President Maduro has stated that his priority in 2014 will be tackling his country's economic problems, but with a devaluation looming things are expected to worsen before they improve. People here are grappling with a runaway inflation, which is said to be seven times higher than other regional countries. Now, people hope that the government will be able to implement its anti-inflation policies and anti-poverty projects as Venezuela moves into the next year.