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President Hugo Chavez threatened on Sunday to take over farms or milk plants if owners refuse to sell their milk for domestic consumption and instead seek higher profits abroad or from cheese-makers.
With the country recently facing milk shortages, Chavez said "it's treason" if farmers deny milk to Venezuelans while selling it across the border in Colombia or for gourmet cheeses.
Chavez said the price for raw milk paid to farmers would be raised 36 percent, to about $2.80 a gallon. He urged farmers to sell their milk to a new state-run plant that he toured in the western state of Zulia.
"We're going to turn Venezuela into a food-producing power," said Chavez, who says he is leading Venezuela toward "21st century socialism."
His comments came a day after he threatened to take control of banks that fail to meet state-imposed requirements to set aside nearly a third of all loans for agriculture, mortgages and small businesses at favorable rates.