Venezuelan Student Combats Food Shortages With Mobile App



For residents living in Venezuela, the food shortage in recent years is nothing new. But that doesn’t make it any easier to work with. The Venezuelan government attributed the “historic food shortage” to increased consumption, hoarding, and actions on behalf of an opposition group trying to destabilize the country. But the constant food shortages, which apply to even the most basic items like milk and flour, do not seem to have gotten better in recent years.

Well, one young entrepreneur did something about it. Venezuelan student José Augusto Montiel created an app called Abastéceme (“Supply Me”) in 2013 which allows residents to locate stores with extra supplies on a digital map, making it easier to find stores that have necessary items. Food shortages have reportedly gotten so bad that government-subsidized items are often resold on the country’s black market. When Montiel created his app, more attention was being given to controlling the black market — as well as those who unfairly profited from it.

Abastéceme has become so popular in just one year that its mobile version alone has garnered nearly 40,000 users, and its online version pulls in many more. What’s so revolutionary about Montiel’s strategy is that, unlike other food programs in Venezuela, it is mobile-friendly and easily accessible on devices like phones and tablets. With approximately half of all internet searches being performed on mobile devices, this app is not only reliable, but also convenient. It offers users very valuable data on a platform with which they are already familiar.

Hopefully, the Venezuelan food shortages will come to an end sooner rather than later. We aren’t too worried about Montiel, once this happens; with insight like his, we can surely expect more programs to appear which help people all over the world.