FAO: 4.9 mn Hondurans suffer from food insecurity
Tegucigalpa, Mar 9 (EFE).- Some 4.9 million people suffer from “food insecurity” in Honduras, where 1.5 million are undernourished and thousands more don’t have the means to ensure themselves a healthy diet and thus encounter serious health problems, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Thursday.
“Some 4.9 million people suffer slight to moderate food insecurity” in Honduras after “sacrificing the quality or quantity of food that they consume in the home,” the FAO representatives in Tegucigalpa, Fatima Espinal, told EFE in an interview.
To the consequences resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic in Honduras, which affected the food supply chains, must now be added the effects of the war in Ukraine and the climate crisis, all of which have increased the price of fertilizers and food and have had inevitable negative effects on food security, she said.
“You have to view Honduras in the context of what’s happening in the world,” Espinal emphasized.
She said that Honduras is one of the world’s “most vulnerable” countries with regard to climate change and in recent years it has been experiencing periods of extreme drought and more intense rainfall, which causes flooding.
According to the 2022 FAO report on the state of food security and nutrition, 1.5 million Hondurans, or 15.3 percent of the population, are undernourished, meaning that they cannot get enough good to satisfy their minimum food energy needs.
Espinal said that the people with fewer resources don’t have access to a healthy diet and so they opt to buy less nutritious foods, which puts their health at risk due to gaining excess weight or not getting enough micronutrients.
Honduras “is not a rich country, it’s a country with poor people” where “more than 70 percent” of the people live in poverty and more than 50 percent in extreme poverty, making it “less possible to access a healthy diet,” she said.
One in every seven Honduran children, she added, “suffers from malnutrition,” and so the country must promote a “health diet and also mechanisms that can help the children’s nutritional status to recover quickly.”
The FAO official urged Honduran authorities to push “food and nutritional education,” adding that public school meal programs are an ideal strategy for attending to malnourished kids.
The organization supports the promotion of school gardens in Honduras as a teaching tool to incentivize kids to consume nutritious vegetables and fruits.
In Espinal’s opinion, family agriculture is an “ideal means” for dealing with Honduras’ food crisis and “avoiding the shocks that the poorest suffer” in the rural areas, where the greatest poverty levels are registered.
“We have to look at and incentivize specific or differentiated policies for family agriculture so that gradually farming families can transition from subsistence … to the generation of greater income and more solid and resilient ways of life,” she said.
In addition, Espinal emphasized the need for cooperation among countries to push for food and nutritional security, recalling that at the 7th Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, held in January, the nations agreed to return to the SEN-CELAC plan, proposed in 2015, to eradicate hunger and ensure food and nutritional security.
She said that it is important to promote “climate-friendly production that respects natural resources and uses technological innovations that do not degrade natural resources.”
Espinal added that those measures range from reducing the use of pesticides, making rational use of water and using more disease-resistant seeds or ones that require less water, thus preserving hydrographic basins.
Honduras must also reduce inequalities in rural areas by investing in the agricultural sector, innovation and technology development.