President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday asked Venezuelan teachers to push for the creation of gardens in elementary and high schools to overcome the country's dependence on petroleum revenues, which is the main source of government funding.

"If I were to be asked what would you really like to ask Venezuelan teachers to do, I'd ask you ... to focus on the construction of productive school gardens ... school by school," said the president during a meeting with teachers in Caracas.

During the encounter, which was broadcast on state-run radio and television, the Chavista leader said that his request "can involve the country's entire educational effort."

"I'm convinced that productive gardens, in their process of consolidation and expansion, sum up all the educational efforts that you make daily in the classrooms, but they also encompass the need for, and the view toward, development of the entire country, because they connect the child to the future the country needs," he said.

The leader of the so-called Bolivarian Revolution said that via this idea Venezuela could move toward a "new economy that will be productive, the product of diversified work ... and overcome the dependent parasitical petroleum economy."

The Chavista forces governing Venezuela since 1999 created the Ministry of Urban Agriculture to push initiatives such as gardens in residential neighborhoods in an attempt to deal with the scarcity of food that has prevailed for years but which has become more acute in recent months.