The Brazilian economy is growing and inflation is falling, but there is a food emergency and more and more people are getting hungry

Miguel Barros, an 11-year-old boy who received food donations after calling the police because he was hungry, looks at his home in Santa Luzia, a municipality in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Two years into the pandemic, the Brazilian economy has grown again. Inflation fell to 8.73% in August from 10.07% in Julybelow the eurozone and almost as much as the US, where it was 8.3%.

For the second month in a row, The country is in recessionThis is thanks to lower fuel prices and the Central Bank’s measures that started the interest rate hike cycle on time. In addition, the Brazilian Economy Minister last week, Paul GeddesThe forecast for economic growth for this year rose to 2.7%, compared to the July forecast of 2%. National GDP grew 0.6% in July compared to June, driven by activity in the manufacturing and services sectors.

According to Getulio Vargas (FGV) GDP Monitor, The Brazilian economy grew by 3.1% compared to the same period of the previous yearand closed 3.3% higher in the moving quarter ending in July. Exports increased 1.6% and Brazil remains the world’s largest exporter of meat and fourth in grain. It is estimated that the country’s produced wealth amounted to 5.4 billion riyals in August.

The unemployment rate also fell to 9.1% in the May-June periodaccording to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), but Informal work increased by 13.1 million Brazilianswhich represents 39.8% of the active population.

Perhaps this data can help to understand in part why, despite such a rapid economic recovery, the country is in a position food emergency. Despite the fact that Bolsonaro increased by 50% in August, to reach 600 reais, the subsidy Help Brazil Former Bolsa Familia Lula, 33 million people, or 15% of the population, live in conditions of severe food insecurity, according to data from the Brazilian Network for Research on Sovereignty and Food and Nutrition Security (PENSSAN). In total, adding people with moderate and moderate food insecurity, there are 125 million Brazilians who may have trouble eating each day.

A community kitchen in Rio de Janeiro (Reuters/Lucas Landau/File)
A community kitchen in Rio de Janeiro (Reuters/Lucas Landau/File)

“This economic growth did not touch even the poorest part of the population,” he explains. Infobae Joseph Graziano da SilvaFormer Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and former Minister of Food Security in Lula’s first government. There was no real drop in food prices, except for seasonal fruits, vegetables and meat, but because of export restrictions. Poor people can’t get enough food“.

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Last month, Brazil was shocked by the news of an 11-year-old boy from Belo Horizonte who called the police for help because there was nothing to eat in his house.

Hunger emergency is high in northern and northeastern Brazil, where the states of Alagoa, Piauí and Amapá top this sad ranking. But things are not going well in São Paulo, the country’s richest state. Despite the GDP of 2348 billion riyals, there are nearly 7 million people who suffer from hunger.

However, Minister of Economy Guedes yesterday questioned these figures at an event in Sao Paulo. “33 million people suffer from hunger is a lie. We are transferring 1.5% of GDP to the poorest people with the help of Brazil, three times what they got before,” he said.

So the issue of hunger is one of the crucial points of this election campaign. In an interview with the radio station small bread Bolsonaro said: “Did you see someone asking for bread at the exit from the bakery? He didn’t see Are there people having bad times? Yes, but everyone who falls on the poverty line, from hunger, because there must be people who are hungry, they can ask for benefits” .

For his part, Lula made one of the main points of his electoral communication the desire to put food on the plates of Brazilians. In his interview as a candidate with the series Globe TVHe said “People should be able to eat roast, eat pecanas and drink beer againIn his first term, the former president created Fome Zero (“Zero Hunger”) in 2003, which in just 10 years has taken Brazil off the hunger map. It was a program that influenced the formulation of the United Nations Millennium Goals so much that, later, In the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the second goal was rightly called “Zero Hunger”.

Daniela dos Santos prepares a meal in downtown São Paulo. (Victor Moriyama / The New York Times / File)
Daniela dos Santos prepares a meal in downtown São Paulo. (Victor Moriyama / The New York Times / File)

But policy cuts by the last two governments, crackdowns on the National Council for Food and Nutrition Security (CONCEA) and the Ministry of Agricultural Development, which focused on supporting family farming, have unraveled this success over the past years and defined Brazil’s comeback.

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“We need — explains Graziano, who is now director of the Fome Zero Institute — to Fighting hunger is the top priority. The country needs a new “Zero Hunger” program, a kind of “Fome 2.0” that fights not only hunger but also malnutrition. Obesity is increasing among the poorest classes and among children. And it is necessary for them to define an emergency programme, starting with school feeding, which is often the only meal of the day.”

Since 2017, money has been frozen and snacks are usually reduced to a few calories, just as it was twenty years ago, before the “Zero Hunger” revolution.

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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