Sao Paulo – AFP
Marley Fumagali, a Brazilian, had to change her habits when buying her food needs from a market in S சாo Paulo, and because of the high price, her slogan became “less meat, more vegetables and more innovations”. In a country with a population of 213 million, 13% live below the poverty line due to the widening inequality caused by the health crisis caused by the “Govit-19” epidemic.
“I’m still cash-strapped for meat, I can only buy leftovers mixed with vegetables and potatoes,” said Fumagali, 69, who feeds her mother and two daughters on a modest salary.
The inflation rate in August was 9.68 per cent. But food prices have risen 14 percent. “This above-average inflation in food prices has significantly affected the budgets of poor families since 2020 and continues this year,” said Joelsson Samboyo, economist at the Kettulio Vargas Foundation.
According to a trust study released in April, 27.7 million Brazilians live below the poverty line, or 12.98 percent of the population, earning less than 261 royals (41 euros) a month. In 2019, it was 10.97 percent, with 23.1 million people living in extreme poverty.
At the Fumagalli buying market, butcher Jose Guerrero no longer serves beef, but instead sells chicken. “I try to diversify suppliers to find the best prices, but it just keeps increasing, and there is an overall effect,” Guerrero said.
Beef prices rose 30.7 percent a year, more than three times the rate of inflation. This is a paradoxical situation in a country that exports beef to the world.
According to a recent survey by the Datafolha Institute, 85 percent of Brazilians have reduced their consumption of at least one type of food this year, and 67 percent less red meat. There is more confusing data; Thirty-five of the respondents said they ate less rice and black beans, which are the staple food of Brazilian families.
“The first automatic reaction of the consumer is to replace the biting food with another, then reduce the portions and eventually lose some kind of food,” said Johnson Sambayo. More than 19 million Brazilians are suffering from hunger, according to a report released by the Benson Association.
116.8 million people, or more than half of the population, live in a state of “food insecurity” and “cannot have full access to food on a permanent basis”.
Inflation has worsened the situation of poor families in a country with more than 14 million unemployed. “The majority of people do not have enough nutrients in their diet, which can lead to many chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart problems,” said Clacia Pastor, a food engineering expert at Campinas University.
The Brazilian opposition attributed the economic policy of the government of far-right President Jair Bolsanaro to “inflation” (the word “caro” in Prosocaro means “play of words”). But the government estimates that the rise in prices is taking place in an international context.
“Foods that are more expensive than others are exported in large quantities by Brazil and are priced in dollars in the international market,” said Carlos Cuco, an agribusiness consultant.
He added that with the Brazilian real fall against the dollar in recent months, “food prices have risen more than the global average.”
This increases fuel prices (+ 41.3% per year) and historic drought and energy costs affecting some crops such as maize. According to Carlos Cuco, food prices are expected to remain high until 2023, and there is a risk of starvation as the number of Brazilian households increases.
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