The UN says Brazil is now rich enough to feed itself

Brazil is now a food exporter.
Brazil is now a food exporter.
Image: Reuters/ Nacho Doce
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Brazil reached a milestone on Tuesday in its long transformation into a global economic power: The United Nations finally removed the country from its World Hunger Map.

“Leaving the Hunger Map is a historic milestone for Brazil. We are very proud because overcoming hunger was a priority for the Brazilian state,” social development minister Tereza Campello said in a statement (Portuguese).

According to the “State of Food Insecurity in the World” report, the number of undernourished Brazilians has fallen from 10.7% of the population in 2003 to less than 5% in 2014. The report attributed the success to a number of factors, most noticeably the country’s Zero Hunger Program, instituted by former President Lula da Silva in 2003. The program, the report noted, “placed food security and nutrition and social inclusion at the centre of the government’s agenda.”

Poverty, the FAO’s major indicator of a country’s progress toward meeting its nourishment goals, has fallen significantly in Brazil over the last decade, from 24.3% to 8.4% of the population. Extreme poverty dropped from 14% to 3.5% in that same time period. However, Brazil’s economic growth has slowed in recent years, from 7.5% in 2010 to an expected 1.5% in 2014.