Hunger in Brazil: recognizing the problem is a better path than denying it

We see that extreme poverty has been rapidly growing in the last four years, which leads, inevitably, to hunger.

Francisco Menezes*

Along with the other member states of the United Nations (UN), Brazil signed, in 2015, a deal that establishes the Sustainable Development Goals (SGD). In that moment, we committed, as a nation, to eradicate the hunger in out territory by 2030. We were drawing a victorious path and UN itself recognized, back in 2014, that our country had left the World Hunger Map. The leaving was based on the criteria adopted by the organization. Our country had done a lot, but there were many other things to be done in order to guarantee this fundamental right for everyone who live in Brazil.

So it doesn’t sound right when we hear the president of the Republic saying that there is not hunger in Brazil. Worst than that: it shows disinformation about the situations of the country that he leads and disrespect to part of the population that still fight in many ways to survive. Even more when we consider the last four years, in which, according to the official data, extreme poverty has increased rapidly, as a result to the choices made to face the actual economic crisis, giving to the most poor people the responsibility to pay the onus of a situation they are not responsible for creating. Extreme poverty leads inevitably to hunger. But paradoxically, there is a dismantling of public policies on food and nutrition security, some of which are rewarded and displayed as references in other countries. Here they are being discontinued or having their budget allocations sharply reduced. In the same line, the current government ended CONSEA, a body that brings together society and government to build and monitor this national policy.

We are waiting for the release of the results of an important household-level survey conducted by IBGE last year on the food security and insecurity situation in Brazil. The president has not expressed much appreciation for what this very respected institute produces, but from what the results show, the country’s situation in this matter will become clearer. Even without this data, hunger is visible again. The day after the president’s untimely speech, the Brazilian press showed several cases that attest to this dramatic situation. Recognizing the problem is a better way than denying it. It is a first step for us to aim for its eradication by 2030.

* Former president of National Council for Food and Nutrition Security (Consea), economist, researcher of Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analysis and member of the Civil Society Working Group for the 2030 Agenda. 

Published in the newspaper Gazeta do Povo in August 18th 2019.

Photo: Pixabay

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