Explaining Brazil #200: Hunger haunts Brazil again

Brazil thought the economic growth of the 2000s had rid the country of hunger. But this ghost of the past has returned to haunt the country

Roughly 19 million Brazilians face the specter of hunger on a daily basis. 

The pandemic went some way toward aggravating the situation, as was shown by the National Inquiry into Food Insecurity in the Context of the Covid Pandemic in Brazil, developed by Rede Penssan, a food security research network.

The level of insecurity in the Sousa household is common across the country. Roughly 36 percent of Brazilians don’t have enough money to eat three meals a day (which is above the global average of 35 percent), according to a new study published by think tank Fundação Getulio Vargas last week. 

The rate sat at 17 percent in 2014. 

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  • Amanda Audi is a Brasília correspondent for The Brazilian Report. She is the former executive director of Congresso em Foco and worked as a reporter for The Intercept Brasil, Folha de S. Paulo, O Globo, Gazeta do Povo, Poder360, among others. In 2019, she won the Comunique-se Award for best-written media reporter and won the Mulher Imprensa award for web journalism in 2020.

This episode used music from Uppbeat. License codes: GM8SHPPNXWICCYKQ, TVBTWKJTQCWSDC0C.

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Background reading:

  • Last week we published a special and exclusive report on the hunger crisis afflicting Brazil. Reporters Amanda Audi, Lucas Berti, Caroline Coutinho, and designer André Chiavassa showed how millions of Brazilians do not know how they will be able to feed their families — a crisis that emerged from the two worst economic crises in Brazilian history.
  • You can also read the piece in Portuguese (leia em português). For this story, we have exceptionally lifted our paywall.
  • The number of Brazilians enduring food insecurity has increased almost 30 percent in three years. But all but one of the leading presidential candidates are ignoring the issue, wrote columnist Beatriz Rey in October.
  • Brazilians are earning less and becoming more dependent on welfare.

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