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Opinion |

Erradicate hunger: from goodwill to action

by Helmer Velásquez

Executive director of CONGCOOP, Guatemala.

In any case eradicate hunger in this country is an ethical commitment, to “give” food bags helps, but does not solve; the only sustainable way is to boost the productive apparatus with agro-ecological peasant orientation, right in line with the challenges that climate change poses to the world.

International spaces are rejoicing with the recent signing at the UM of Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals. Of particular interest is goal number two: “Put an end to hunger, food security and improved nutrition and sustainable agriculture”.

The enthusiasm is such that Graciano Da Silva, director of FAO has reiterated, hopefully, that this generation is to become “the generation of zero hunger”. By contrast, at the domestic level, expressions of satisfaction have been rather scarce. The commitments, even less. Neither the crippled President has referred to the matter, much less the business sectors. The latter use ODS as an advertising slogan, without explaining what their commitment will consist in. Bad signal. If broader social, political and economic sectors don’t assume the agenda, nothing will be accomplished.

Obviously, boosting rural economy, will be crucial to reach this ambitious goals, therefore, approve the proposed Law 4084, Law on Integrated Rural Development, will be a good contribution in that direction. The fact that there has been so much opposition to the initiative can’t be explained other than by the old ideological prejudices of those who live in the anticommunist past. The initiative does not propose any revolutionary change: it simply requires the state to fulfill its essential role “to correct the imperfections of democracy” and among them: inequality. If the innocent 4084 Law does not go that far, however, it anticipates something: public investment in rural areas, coordination of State institutions to generate impact, its establishes priorities: productive infrastructure, public credit, extension, post-harvest programs, local markets and other lines of Action. Precisely, this measure aims to increase production, productivity and improve quality and food safety. It is the perfect response to the objective referred.

In agricultural matters and in particular on access to land, Law 4084 does not go beyond what the Constitution says. It is much paler that the agricultural policy adopted by the government of Pérez Molina! ie alarms and corporate distress about what the bill creates, obey to the fact, in the best of cases, that the bill is unknown or prejudicially analyzed.

In any case eradicate hunger in this country is an ethical commitment, to “give” food bags helps, but does not solve; the only sustainable way is to boost the productive apparatus with agro-ecological peasant orientation, right in line with the challenges that climate change poses to the world.

Source: CONGCOOP