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Seguridad alimentaria y nutrición para todos

Resuming progress towards Zero Hunger

28/11/2018

The Dry Corridor in Central America, known for its irregular rainfall, has become one of the most susceptible regions in the world to climate change and variability. The hunger and malnutrition-hit strip stretches from Southern Mexico down to Panama, with Honduras being one of the most affected countries. Recently, the Central American country has created a multi-donor basket to fight food insecurity and create resilience in the area which has received around 300 million dollars from different partners like the European Union. But more money does not guarantee a bigger success.
“Investments will not be effective if we do not create the right conditions for them to have real impact”, argued Carmelo Gallardo, FAO’s representative in the Dominican Republic. Gallardo spoke during a side event organised by the FIRST Programme (an EU-FAO Partnership for policy assistance towards achieving food security and nutrition) in the Week of Food and Agriculture that took place in Buenos Aires (Argentina).
Government representatives from Colombia, Cuba and Guatemala also shared what they are doing to make investments effective in countering climate change, imports-dependence, overweight and obesity or in responding to the need of peace and stability.
“With the Dry Corridor Alliance, Honduras now has an excellent testing ground to see if its policies and coordination to achieve food security and nutrition are working”, said Jorge Quiñonez, from the Honduran Government´s Unit for Food Security and Nutrition.
In the case of Guatemala, the main bottleneck for success was the gender gap among farmers. “We saw the data and realised that if we wanted our Family Farming Program to have real impact, we needed to make it more gender inclusive”, explained Felipe Orellana, Deputy Minister of Rural Development at the Guatemalan Ministry of Agriculture. A Gender Unit within the Ministry was included within the decision making process to make sure that the rights of rural women —who in most cases are not formally paid for their work in agriculture— are taken into account.
In Colombia, the current phase of stabilization presents a series of particular challenges to resume agricultural production and create new opportunities in the rural territories that were affected by the war. “The new government is adopting a territorial approach to identify the specific needs in each area”, said Zulma Fonseca, from the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare.
Cuba, on its side, is also setting the ground to address the challenges of the years to come, preparing a Local Food Self-supply Plan to reduce its dependence on imports and tackle emerging issues like overweight and obesity. “This will bring to the local markets more fresh products with high nutritional values”, argued Gloria Almandoz, from the Cuban Food Industry Ministry. The Caribbean island is looking for sustainable alternatives to its food imports, including the legal recognition of family aquaculture producers.
The FIRST Programme, with a network of policy officers embedded in the relevant ministries, is supporting governments’ efforts to improve food security through sustainable agriculture in over 30 countries, in Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia or the Middle East. The facility acts as a broker between partners who commit to a sustainable change —the Governments—, partners who are willing to support with investments —like the EU— and those who can provide their expertise and technical assistance to make this an achievable goal, like FAO.