Venezuela: UN notes huge progress against malnutrition

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) recognised Venezuela on June 16 as one of 18 countries that had achieved exceptional progress toward reducing the prevalence of malnutrition.

Measuring progress from 1990-1992 until 2010-2012, the FAO determined that 20 countries had cut the proportion of hungry people by half, satisfying the first of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDG) originally set for 2015.

A further 18 countries reached both the MDG and the more demanding World Food Summit Goal of halving the absolute number of undernourished people.

Among the 18 countries commended for achieving both goals were Cuba, Guyana, Kuwait, Nicaragua and Peru, as well as Venezuela.

After receiving a certificate of recognition, President Nicolás Maduro addressed the assembly to ask for FAO support in establishing a system for monitoring the supply and consumption of food in Venezuela and among the regional alliances of Petrocaribe and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).

ALBA, launched in 2004, brings together Latin American and Caribbean countries in pursuit of social, political, and economic integration. Petrocaribe, founded a year later, allows Caribbean countries to buy Venezuelan oil at preferential prices as part of an effort to foster economic cooperation. Both were initiatives of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Maduro also asked for the group's assistance in implementing a system of distribution that allows a continuous supply of food to Venezuelans. The country, which faces shortages in some basic food items, recently imported 77,000 tons of food from countries in South and Central America.

“Venezuela currently suffers from an economic attack and an economic war against its food supply [from the opposition], and yet we have still maintained the appropriate calorie levels and the access to food for the population,” Maduro said.

[Abridged from Venezuela Analysis.]