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Argentine gov't launches program to combat hunger

ARGENTINA POVERTY | 13 de enero de 2020

Buenos Aires, Jan 13 (efe-epa).- President Alberto Fernandez's administration rolled out a new program on Monday to fight hunger in Argentina.

The program, called "Argentina contra el hambre" (Argentina against Hunger), was announced last month and a decree published in the Official Bulletin said the goal was to "guarantee the food security and sovereignty of the entire population" amid the social emergency in this South American nation.

The program, which will cost about 60 billion pesos (some $1 billion), provides participants with a card that allows them to buy food, as well as providing access to school cafeterias, snack bars and community dining halls.

The Fernandez administration designed the program to include policies for the "support of food production and sales" via the "creation and strengthening of people's markets," the "financing of economic solidarity producers" and "support for family agricultural production."

The program seeks to benefit "people who are in a situation of social vulnerability and suffer from food insecurity," the decree said.

"Assistance will be provided to families and communities in a situation of poverty, prioritizing those households with boys and girls below age 6, pregnant women and people with disabilities. Also, special attention will be given to older adults and teenagers who have difficulties accessing adequate nutrition," the decree said.

In addition, the Fernandez administration said it was preparing "a system for monitoring and evaluating the results and impacts of the actions called for in the plan," which also seeks to "promote food production systems via the strengthening of the solidarity economy" and by incorporating "healthy food, hygiene and nutrition habits."

The food security plan notes that in the past few years, Argentina experienced "a process of economic and social deterioration, manifested in a considerable increase in poverty, indigence and unemployment."

Based on official figures, some 35.4 percent of Argentina's population, or about 14.4 million people, live in poverty, the government said.

The "food and nutritional emergency" in Argentina worsened in the past week when three children from the Wichi indigenous community died from malnutrition in the northern province of Salta, where Social Development Minister Daniel Arroyo traveled to monitor the situation.

"Today we visited the indigenous communities in northern Salta along with @GustavoSaenzOK, expressing the willingness of president @alferdez to work jointly on the fight against hunger and for access to water," the social development minister said in a Twitter post.

The Social Development Ministry has been given the mission of implementing the program to fight hunger in Argentina, with the goal of "modifying the mode of access of families to food" and help enrich the lives of households. EFE

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