Photo: Food Security Issues Tackled in Brazil
The Fourth National Conference on Food Security has just ended, in the State of Bahia. Organized by the Conselho Nacional de Segurança Alimentar and Nutricional (CONSEA), 2 000 participants gathered to sign a global agreement on food security and the promotion of human right to adequate food.
This conference is the first of its kind, organized by the government of President Dilma Rousseff, who launched the programme “Brazil Without Poverty” aimed at 16 million people who still live in extreme poverty. Among the topics discussed there was also the soaring price of food, the production of transgenic flour and obesity, major nutritional problem in the country.
In fact, Brazil is a large agricultural producer, as well as the use of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides to a greater extent than any other country in the world, 49% of Brazilians are overweight and 16% obese. In recent years in the country, thanks to government programs to combat hunger, in a population of 192 million inhabitants, about 20 million have been saved from poverty and child malnutrition has been reduced by 61%.
Other initiatives, such as the distribution of school meals to 47 million children and adolescents, have stimulated local economies and improved health and education sectors. However, especially among vulnerable groups such as indigenous people and the ‘quilombola’ communities, descendants of African slaves, the problem remains very serious food and food insecurity continues unabated. It is necessary to stimulate the production of local foods to suit local customs that would also promote access to cheaper and more nutritious food.