Approximately 852 million people go hungry in the world – 18 million more than in the 1990’s – according to data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Of this total, 815 million live in developing countries.
To debate this issue, exchange experiences, and strengthen alliances to combat the problem, government officials and specialists from all over Latin America have been meeting since Sunday, September 11, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, at the Latin American Conference on Hunger as a Target of the Goals of the Millenium.
The general coordinator of International Hunger Alleviation Activities in Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Relations, councillor Milton Rondó Filho, revealed that there is considerable interest on the part of other Latin American countries in Brazil’s experiences.
They want to know about family farming incentives, such as the National Program for the Strengthening of Family Farming (Pronaf), coordinated by the Ministry of Agrarian Development, and about the Ministry of Social Development and Hunger Alleviation’s Food Acquisition Program (PAA), which aims to stimulate food production on family farms by purchasing produce directly, without the usual bidding process, for distribution to individuals subjected to conditions of food insecurity.
The councillor underscores Brazil’s leading role on the food security issue – both within the FAO and in bilateral relations with other Latin American countries.
Rondó Filho recalls that, in March, 2006, Brazil will host the FAO International Conference on Agrarian Reform, the first conference of this type since 1979. “Agrarian reform is an important structural aspect of the Brazilian food security strategy,” he notes.
The Declaration of the Millennium, approved by 191 heads of State and government in 2000, set, as one of its goals, halving the number of people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition, between 1990 and 2015.
The progress achieved so far in meeting the Goals of the Millenium will be analyzed at the United Nations High Level Plenary Meeting scheduled for September 14-16, in New York.
Yesterday, President Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva participated in the closing ceremony of the debates in Guatemala City, and the director of the Department of Decentralized Systems in the Ministry of Social Development and Hunger Alleviation, Crispim Moreira, present Brazil’s successful experiences in the war on hunger.