one arrives at La Villa del Rosario and asks about the "malanga growers",
they all point their fingers to the home of Edicso Acosta, in San José area.
There, on a dead end street, her mother - an old woman of over 70 years old -
sits down to grind coffee by hand right next to a Kodiak truck parked in what is
left of the yard, under a mango tree. There are 14 sacks of taro, approximately
700 kilos (154 lb), around that trunk, which have been out in the sun for over a
week and are still fresh to eat.
has all the appearance of a field producer: torn clothes, plastic boots, and a
hat. His role is basic. He buys everything he can from the producers and then
resells it in the wholesale markets in the center of the country. Producers look
for him because, when they do not have money, he finances the production with
the only condition that they sell it to him. He always
is obvious. He has several trucks and employees. There is plenty for him to live
and produce, and although there was a considerable decline in 2014, he never
stopped selling the merchandise. "When the Colombians left, we had no
producers," he says. "Only a few began to produce. I refused to leave this
because it is the only thing I know how to do."
reach the crops, you have to travel almost vertical miles of sand road, barely
three meters (9.84 ft) wide between the wall of the hill and the cliff. Edicso
arrives at these allotments on a small Toyota truck like those used by Islamic
State terrorists on the other side of the world. He has six of those. And they
are all his.
can see the taro crops around the mountain chain walls, small plants with large
heart-shaped leaves. Based on Edicso’s experience, the species was brought from
Colombia, where they call it malanga, and it cannot compete with the
Chinese taro produced in the east of the country, or the Venezuelan taro, whose
fields spread throughout Portuguese state. Such crops are all along the dirt
road of the Las Lajas area, which has a winding river around the road. Las Lajas
is one of the tributaries feeding Los Tres Ríos, the largest water reservoir in
Zulia state, which supplies its capital, Maracaibo, with a population of over 2