14 February 2003, Rome
will receive US$1 million for its Zero Hunger Project from the
UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The UN agency will
provide technical support for the programme which aims to
eradicate hunger and malnutrition. The Zero Hunger Project was
launched by President Luiz Inązio Lula da Silva on 30th January
FAO Director-General Dr. Jacques
Diouf is to meet today with President Lula to discuss means of
further strengthening the close collaboration between FAO, the
government and other sectors involved in the struggle against
They are also expected to discuss
issues related to agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural
development as well the production, sale and distribution of
represents a modest initial contribution which will allow the
Zero Hunger Project to begin immediately," Dr. Diouf
said. "The Zero Hunger project is a very important
programme, not just for Brazil but also for the entire
international community and for FAO," he said.
"It represents the strongest and
most concrete position taken by a government to reach the goal
set by Heads of State and Government during the World Food
Summit: to halve the number of hungry people in the world by
2015," he added.
The initial sum
of one million dollars will allow FAO to shortly begin three
technical cooperation projects in Brazil to:
financed projects in order to support the Zero Hunger Project.
FAO contribution: US$ 252 000.
Design and offer capacity-building
courses to counter the effects of drought and bolster the
profitability and productivity of the rural populations of
FAO contribution: US$ 377
the initial implementation of the Zero Hunger Project with
technical consultation on urban and peri-urban agriculture,
rural household agriculture, settlements and land reform as well
as follow-up projects and evaluation.
contribution: US$ 368,000.
FAO will also provide Brazil with the broad experience
gained through the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS).
The programme, promoted by FAO since 1994 and currently active
in more than 70 countries, will provide an important point of
reference for the practical application of the Zero Hunger
Project principles. The Hunger of
the Missed Meal
In Brazil poverty
affects more than a quarter of the population - some 44 million
people. In the nine states in north eastern Brazil, the poorest
regions of the country, almost half of all families live on an
income of approximately a dollar a day.
"The problem of hunger in Brazil is different
to the tragic images that we associate with Southern Africa,
where people simply have nothing to eat," said Andrew
MacMillan, FAO's Director of Field Operations.
"In Brazil, hunger means having a half-full
plate or perhaps just eating one meal a day. Over the long-term
this is debilitating for the population and it weakens the
development opportunities of a country rich in potential like
Brazil," MacMillan said.
"Fighting hunger is not merely a moral
imperative but represents a highly profitable investment which
will generate much more than the initial small sum
invested," he added.
Hunger Project recognises that low incomes are the main cause of
chronic hunger in Brazil. It aims to tackle this problem by
providing an additional income through an electronic card which
will enable people to buy basic food items. It is hoped that the
additional demand for these basic foods will stimulate their
production by small-scale farmers who represent a large portion
of the country's poor and hungry.
Encouraging both adult and infant education will also
be incorporated into the project. In order to benefit from the
system families will, for example, have to prove that
theirchildren attend school and adult family members will have
to enrolon training courses.
project's long-term central objective is to reduce the
population's dependence on immediate aid and assistance
Information officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570