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UN Agencies Warn of Impending Food Crisis in Caribbean and Ibero-America Worsened by Coronavirus

June 17, 2020 (EIRNS)—The urgency of implementing the LaRouchePAC program to create a new global financial system and double food production is driven home by the joint report issued today by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), which warns that as a result of the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, at least 16 million more people will join the ranks of those living in extreme poverty in the region—for a total of 83.4 million—and almost certainly will face a food and hunger crisis due to their inability to access food.

In the 2016-2018 period, the report points out, there were already 53.7 million people experiencing severe food insecurity in this region. Today, it explains, food prices are rising more than any other product in the basic market basket of consumer goods. Nations such as Venezuela, Haiti, Central America’s “dry corridor,” and small developing islands of the Caribbean are particularly vulnerable, signalling that measures taken thus far by governments are too fragmented and inadequate.

The report, “Preventing the COVID-19 Crisis from Becoming a Food Crisis: Urgent Measures Against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean,” warns that after seven years of slow growth, the Ibero-American and Caribbean region could see the biggest drop in Gross Domestic Product (˗5.3%) in a century. As a result, said FAO’s representative for the region, Julio Berdegué, “we may have a historic setback in the fight against hunger. In a matter of months, we may lose what we have achieved in 15 years. Millions of people may end up going hungry. That is the gravity of the current problem.”

And, he told the daily Página 12, “this is not a short-term problem. We’re looking at a 2020 that will be very bad, and a very weak 2021, in the best of cases. One thing is to hold out for two or three months and another is to hold out for one or two years. So, it’s necessary to prevent the health crisis from becoming a food crisis.”

The report proposes ten emergency measures to address the immediate problem, including, among other things, increased subsidies for both consumers and producers, an Anti-Hunger Grant, which would involve issuing cash transfers, food baskets, or vouchers to the entire population living in extreme poverty for a six-month period; reinforcing school-based food programs to ensure that children and adolescents are fed; and providing support programs encouraging production “for one’s own consumption”—subsistence farming? While these can provide some necessary relief, they are no substitute for the aggressive global program whose implementation LaRouchePAC is urging. The report so far is available only in Spanish.

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