FAO, Brazil leaders discuss strategies for fighting hunger

by World Grain Staff
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ROME, ITALY —  Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff  and United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva reviewed hunger and poverty-fighting strategies, including the "social technologies" pioneered  by Brazil, at a meeting at FAO headquarters on March 18.

Stating that "it is fundamental to end hunger", President Rousseff noted that three aspects of the Brazilian anti-hunger program are essential.

It is vital to accurately map hunger so that planners know who the "invisible poor and hungry" are, she said. Also crucial is that cash transfer programs — whether based on cash cards, vouchers or other instruments — make sure that money reaches beneficiaries directly without going through any intermediaries. 

A third essential requisite was that women are the recipients of such transfers, Rousseff and Graziano da Silva agreed. 

Outlining other Brazilian initiatives, President Rousseff mentioned her country's Food Purchase Programme, which  buys agricultural products from smallholders and delivers them to at-risk categories, including children and youth through school feeding programs. The program is a cornerstone of the country's Zero Hunger strategy. 

Brazil, together with FAO and the World Food Programme, is providing money and expertise to replicate the program in five African countries, and has also exported it to other countries in Latin America.

Graziano da Silva noted that Brazil's social technology initiatives could well be used as a model for other countries in their fight against hunger. Brazil and FAO could work together to help introduce such techniques elsewhere, he said.  

Ending hunger and poverty is an essential first step in achieving other Millennium Development Goals such as universal primary education and environmental sustainability, he noted, adding that it was essential to bring the private sector and civil society on board to guarantee success. 

Graziano da Silva also praised Brazil's decision to eliminate taxes on a series of essential food products as “a good idea that benefits poor families.”  

FAO and Brazil also discussed possible cooperation to combat deforestation.

In connection with hunger-mapping, he mentioned FAO's Voices of the Hungry project, offering  a new, faster and more precise way of measuring hunger and food insecurity across the world, to be  field-tested by FAO in several pilot countries.  


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