The Government of Colombia is “surprised” by the report on food insecurity

January 30, 2022

Rodolfo Zea Navarro, Minister of Agriculture, is being investigated for alleged irregularities in the allocation of agricultural credits to mitigate the Covid-19 crisis.

According to the Minister of Agriculture, Rodolfo Enrique Zea, it’s a surprise that the report of the FAO and the World Food Program has included Colombia in the list of countries in the world that is at risk of presenting food insecurity.

The report in question, entitled ‘Foci of Hunger’, maintains that the lack of food will continue to gain ground in the country due to political instability, the pandemic, the migration crisis, internal displacement, and regional instability. According to the 2022 humanitarian needs study, 7.3 million Colombians will require food assistance this year.

The FAO assures that the political instability of the country can worsen the situation of food insecurity. One factor is the delay in the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement of 2016 between the FARC and the Colombian State, which has led to an upsurge in violence and new internal displacements, which could lead to growing social unrest and possible economic downturns. Likewise, the report denounced that access to humanitarian assistance in the country is highly restricted and could be worse due to the resurgence of the armed conflict in the most dangerous areas of the country.

However, in an interview for Noticias Caracol, Minister Zea assured that the representatives for Colombia of these organizations were not aware of the report until it was released. What’s more, the head of the Agriculture portfolio contradicted the information that appears there.

They told us they were not aware of this report, but that it came to the country as a surprise. Us right now we don’t have a food crisis and we have been preserving the supply and food security of Colombians.

The report points out that the pandemic has amplified inequality and points out that the high level of inflation will continue to affect the purchasing power of poor families. Therefore, it recommends measures such as cash transfers and food assistance for both Venezuelan migrants (1.8 million welcomed) as well as for their host communities. According to the minister, current transfer programs are effective.

It has reached 10.3 million households, which are more or less 30 million people, through the programs of Families in Action, Youth in Action, Solidarity Income, everything that has to do with VAT refunds and the Elderly. In Solidarity Income we are already reaching 3 million households and as of March we will be reaching 4 million households. Then, the national government, due to all this situation that was generated as a result of the pandemic, has been carrying out a program of very important transfers.

The report also recommends a fair distribution of agricultural inputs and the establishment of areas for fast food production, veterinary medical care, support for fodder production and help to preserve livelihoods. The minister says that this item is also covered.

In addition to that, with what has to do with the agricultural sector, we have implemented or processed a law in the Congress of the Republic in the month of December in a record manner for agricultural inputs. During this year, the tariff on inputs will be 0%. And we created a fund that is going to be fed with 10% of the profits of the Agrarian Bank where we are going to start 7 billion to make a program of agricultural inputs for small producers.

Regarding the specific vulnerability of some communities, such as the Wayúu, the minister also tried to defend himself.

We have made historic progress, with a 39.4% decrease in notifications of deaths of girls and boys due to causes associated with malnutrition in 2020, compared to 2018. This is work that has been done with the UN World Food Program and with the FAO. That is why the report surprises us a lot, because the representatives in Colombia have these figures and know all the progress we have made in this matter.

The World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations revealed a report this January 27 where Colombia, in terms of acute food security, is not very well positioned. According to what was said in the report, the situation will worsen between February and May 2022 in three Latin American and Caribbean countries: Colombia, Honduras and Haiti.


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