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Re: From economic growth to food security and better nutrition

14.11.2012
Final Year Economics Students (group 3)

Greetings all (again),

Our contributions to the final question:

“How can we mobilize the political will necessary to put policies for hunger reduction and improved nutrition higher on the list of political priorities?”

From the question indicated above it’s understood that the politicians have not placed hunger reduction and improved nutrition on their “higher” list of political priorities. Given this scenario and assuming the politicians are aware of both issues being a major concern for the nation then it’s shocking to know they’ve not chosen for it to be of higher importance. So as citizens of the country in which such an injustice occur, the only options we have are:

1)    Publicize our concerns for these issues at an international level because only then will mobilization of the political will necessary to put these policies at a higher level occur. And this is so because no politician wants bad publicity especially at the global level.

2)    Citizens of the country can also form a strong group among themselves to personally deal with recruiting people to join their quest for the change in the political priorities of those in charge. The residents of the nation can have peaceful protests displaying their discomforts with the current issues that are addressed as opposed to what they feel should be addressed (especially if it’s a Democratic Country).

3)    From inception the citizens should’ve looked more closely at the politicians’ campaign to get a better understanding as to what these political parties feel the need to prioritize so as to make a better or the best choice on elections day.

The bitter truth is that Mobilizing political will towards hunger reduction and improved nutrition is often difficult unless the politicians themselves also gain from the policies. In developing countries, power struggles are present in light of corruption and self interest. Developed nations, also present with high poverty rates, hunger and malnourished population need to give attention to the critical problems.

Political parties capturing votes from the hungry and malnourished citizens by implementing the policies to deal with these issues will benefit both parties (politicians and the citizens). In developing nations, the poor and hungry accounts for huge sum of the population. Implementing the policies or programmes and investing in hunger reduction and improved nutrition (and at same time insuring food security) for the mass groups affected by both issues will be recuperated by voting increase and support of the political parties fulfilling the nation’s needs.

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil contested elections 3 times before being elected in 2002 for his fourth time contesting. He went after the working poor, low income, hunger stricken and under nourished citizens through his campaigning, building his support and manifesting policies investing in social protection and hunger alleviation. In his early years of office in 2003 to 2005, indications were already there to show his policies for hunger reduction. Eradication programmes such as Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) and Bolsa Familia which were the centre piece of his time in office. Fome Zero brought a series of policies together to ending hunger in Brazil. Fome Zero venture highly into agricultural production in family agriculture and distribution of food to the hungry. Former President was re elected in 2006 mainly from these policies.
In mobilizing the political will necessary to put policies for hunger reduction and improved nutrition higher on the list of political priorities, a solution of voting benefits to the political parties who promote these policies and benefits to the hungry and malnourished will be realized.

However, a lot of advocacy has gone down the drain without any significant change. So the overall solution may very well be to empower and better educate the nation on why better nutrition and hunger reduction is essential to them and ways and means how they can improve same. Also, we feel that the KEY here is that people need to vote for betterment and pay more emphasis on what they want and which political party can give them that (of course in keeping with what will be beneficial for the nation as a whole).