Among the experiences presented in BrasÀlia at the 32nd Session of the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition, the Brazilian case study was classified as “the most advanced” in the struggle against hunger and poverty.
According to the Committee’s executive secretary, Roger Shrimpton, Brazil’s situation is the most “favorable” among the four countries that were analyzed – Angola, Bolivia, Brazil, and Mozambique.
“The indices of malnutrition among children are low in comparison with Angola and Mozambique, for example. Brazil produces enough food to meet the demand for a healthy diet. The issue, it seems, is to find solutions that guarantee needy communities access to income and, consequently, high quality food,” he observes.
In Shrimpton’s opinion, when it comes to strategies to combat poverty and hunger, one may infer that a country advances when it adopts income-transfer measures.
According to the Brazilian study, “a large-scale income-transfer policy represents the most immediate alternative for dealing with the problem in Brazil.”
According to the technical director of the Brazilian Campaign for Nutrition and Human Rights (Abrandh), Flávio Valente, the Family Grant program constitutes progress in this sense.
“Research indicates that 70% of the money these families receive from the programs is spent on food, generally on better quality food than they had before,” he affirms.
In Valente’s view, the exchange of experiences has contributed greatly to advances in the four countries that were analyzed. According to him, “when one begins to expose the difficulties and the advances, alternative routes appear.”
Shrimpton believes that the Zero Hunger program is a “very well developed” concept but needs complementation for the Brazilian program to have a bigger impact.
“There is a need that goes beyond providing food to the poor. Income distribution in Brazil is very unequal, so the Brazilian government’s effort to correct this situation through direct income transfers is admirable.
“What must be done is to combine it with other measures that will protect, in addition to those who are economically vulnerable, those who are biologically vulnerable, such as pregnant women,” he points out.
According to Shrimpton, since the Brazilian government is assuming the position of world leader in nutritional solutions, it would be “very important for other countries to receive Brazil’s help.”
“Brazil is becoming part of a more advanced society, in which income-transfer policies are normal government practices. Moreover, Brazil has the benefit of a very rich history of food and nutrition programs. The country’s current institutional situation is also favorable, something that the other countries lack.
“Therefore, I believe that Brazil can develop a supporting role for the other three countries, especially Angola and Mozambique.” he points out.
Translation: David Silberstein