Local June 20, 2020 | 8:00 am

Agro Culture: Hunger: Not in the Dominican Republic

Evaristo Rubens

FAO and ECLAC maintain that millions of people may fall into extreme poverty and hunger this year in Latin America and the Caribbean due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This seems unlikely to occur in the Dominican Republic because there is sufficient agricultural and livestock production of a variety of items that are basic in the country’s family basket, of which the authorities assure that more than 85% of the products consumed by the population are produced here. The truth is that during these months of the pandemic there has been no lack of food in the country. On the contrary, in some lines, such as chicken, eggs, pigs, cassava, sweet potatoes, vegetables, and others, there has been overproduction. It must be remembered that the tourism sector has been and is closed. Tourism is a major consumer of these products.

Avoiding the crisis

For this, FAO and ECLAC propose a hunger bonus for vulnerable populations and credit for producers. “The great task that lies ahead is to prevent the health crisis from turning into a food crisis. For this we propose to complement the Basic Income of Emergency with the delivery of a Bonus Against Hunger (BCH),” said Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC executive secretary. “In Latin America, we can have a historical setback in the fight against hunger. We may lose what we have accomplished in 15 years in a couple of months. Millions of people can go hungry. That is the seriousness of the current problem,” explained the regional representative of the FAO in Chile, Julio Berdegué. The Bonus Against Hunger could materialize in the form of cash transfers.

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