Brazilian society should be ashamed to have among its citizens 33 million people who go hungry every day and another 60 million who eat poorly.
Hunger is not a problem of food production, but the result of unfair social relations that concentrate income and wealth, which deprive the poorest of their fundamental rights of access to food, water and well-being. Josué de Castro already taught us in the 1950s, with his classic Hunger Geography.
We salute the initiatives of the CNBB, which launched this year’s Fraternity Campaign on Ash Wednesday, which will run until Easter, to denounce hunger and motivate solidarity.
We salute the Lula government’s initiative to rebuild the National Food Security Council (Consea), with the participation of civil society organizations. Millions of anonymous Brazilian men and women mobilize to send food to those affected by climate change on the coast of São Paulo.
The Lula government mobilized to save the lives of the Yanomami people. He helped the gauchos peasants who suffer from the serious consequences of the drought in Rio Grande do Sul. The agricultural losses caused by the drought are estimated at R$ 28 billion.
All this is very important and necessary, but it is insufficient. As Dom Hélder Câmara taught us, it is not enough to denounce the ills of capitalism, it is always necessary to ask who is responsible.
And from there follow the current questions: why do so many Brazilians go hungry? Why are ultra-processed products that deceive the population still on the market? Why do those who produce milk, beans, rice pay taxes and the trade in pesticides, yachts and other luxury goods are not taxed?
Why do exporters commodities farmers do not pay taxes Why is the value of the school lunch transferred to each student 30 cents per meal?
Why does the agribusiness landowner want to privatize the National Supply Company (Conab) and reduce it to just an intelligence “agency”?
The Lula government needs to have the courage to involve the necessary ministries and draw up a perennial plan to combat the causes of hunger, which requires emergency measures with medium and long-term actions.
Urgent measures are needed to encourage family farmers, who are the only ones producing healthy food in the country. On the other side of the coin, it is necessary to generate jobs and income for the working class to get out of this tragic crisis that sacrifices the lives of 70 million people.
In addition, building a large national program of agroecology, as the teacher Anamaria Primavesi taught us, as a way to save biodiversity and soil fertility.
A major national reforestation program across the country, not just in the Amazon, is critical to fighting deforestation and climate change that affect all Brazilians.
The reorganization of Consea is an encouragement and we hope that it will be, in fact, a space for proposing measures to combat hunger and its causes to overcome palliative policies. It is not enough to give medicine to relieve pain, it is necessary to fight the cause of pain.
*João Pedro Stedile, economist, is an MST activist.
Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho
Leave a Reply