Evaluation of the Brazilian Fome Zero and the Mexican Oportunidades Anti-hunger Programs as Strategies to Improve Food Security

Master's Thesis 2013 143 Pages

Environmental Sciences


Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables



1 Introduction

2 Theoretical Framework
2.1 Definitions
2.1.1 Hunger, Undernourishment and Undernutrition
2.1.2 Poverty
2.1.3 Food Security: a Top-down Approach
2.1.4 Food Sovereignty: a Bottom-up Approach
2.2 Food Security and Anti-Poverty Policies
2.3 The Vicious Circle of Poverty and Hunger
2.3.1 Trade Liberalization as an External Influencing Factor to Poverty Households Distribution Channels Factor Markets Government Risks and Vulnerability Technology and Economic Growth The Effects of Trade Liberalization on Inequality and Poverty
2.3.2 Deficits in Structure and Development as Internal Influencing Factors

3 Methodology
3.1 Country-Specific Analysis
3.1.1 Three Perspectives for the Analysis of Food Security and Poverty Structures
3.1.2 Addressing Poverty and Hunger
3.2 Evaluation: Eight Essential Steps for Strategies to Improve Food Security
3.2.1 Step One: Identification and Coverage of the Poor
3.2.2 Step Two: Country-specific Analysis of the Internal and the External Influencing Factors to Poverty
3.2.3 Step Three: Definition of Strategies for Cash Transfers and Social Assistances
3.2.4 Step Four: Definition of Strategies of Emergency
3.2.5 Step Five: Definition of Structural Strategies
3.2.6 Step Six: Definition of Exit Strategies
3.2.7 Step Seven: Evaluation of Efficiency and Sustainability
3.2.8 Step Eight: Establishment of an Efficient Change Management

4 Results
4.1 Brazil Actual State Analysis
4.1.1 Amount Perspective Brazilian’s Food Production Brazilian’s Import/Export Structure of Food Family Farming
4.1.2 Access Perspective National Structure of Poverty Conditions of Food Insecurity Poverty Structure in Rural Areas
4.1.3 Diet Perspective Consumption Patterns and Malnutrition Organic Agriculture Water Access
4.1.4 Reasons for Poverty First Reason for Poverty: Income and Land Concentration Second Reason for Poverty: High Food Prices and Food Price Fluctuations Third Reason for Poverty: Social Exclusion
4.1.5 Fome Zero and the National Food and Nutrition Security System and Policy (Pnsan) The National Council on Food and Nutrition Security (Consea), the Interministerial Food and Nutrition Security Chamber (Caisan) & the National Conferences on Food and Nutritional Security (Cnsan) Costs & Financing Framework and Objectives Counteracting Income and Land Concentration Counteracting High Food Prices and Food Price Fluctuations Counteracting Social Exclusion A Brief Presentation of Fome Zeros’ and Pnsan’s Results
4.2 Mexico’s Actual State Analysis
4.2.1 Amount Perspective Mexico’s Food Production Mexico’s Import/Export Structure of Food Mexican Farmers
4.2.2 Access Perspective National Structure of Poverty Poverty Structure in Rural Areas Conditions of Food Insecurity
4.2.3 Perspective of Diet Consumption Patterns and Malnutrition Organic Agriculture Water Access
4.2.4 Reasons for Poverty First Reason for Poverty: Income & Land Concentration Second Reason for Poverty: High Prices and Food Price Fluctuations Third Reason for Poverty: Social Exclusion
4.2.5 Oportunidades – Objectives and Basic Foundations of Social Assistance Background Institutions Costs & Financing Oportunidades: Framework and Objectives Counteracting Income and Land Concentration Counteracting High Food Prices and Food Price Fluctuations Counteracting Social Exclusion A Brief Presentation of Oportunidades’ Results

5 Conclusions and Outlook
5.1 Step One: Identification and Coverage of the Poor
5.2 Step Two: Country-specific Analysis of the Internal and the External Influencing Factors to Poverty
5.3 Step Three: Definition of Strategies for Cash Transfers and Social Assistances
5.4 Step Four: Definition of Emergency Strategies
5.5 Step Five: Definition of Structural Strategies
5.6 Step Six: Definition of Exit Strategies
5.7 Step Seven: Evaluation of Efficiency and Sustainability
5.8 Step Eight: Establishment of an Efficient Change Management

6 References

7 Appendix


Foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my thesis committee, the two co-directors Dr. Sabine Schlüter (ITT Cologne), Dr. Juan Manuel Pinos Rodríguez and my assessor Dr. Juan Carlos García López (Universidad Autónoma San Luis Potosí), for their guidance, continuous caring and always very valuable feedback.

I also would like to thank to the DAAD and CONACYT for their financial support during my studies.

I would like to thank my very good friends Ksenia Yakovleva and Stefan Gebhardt for their patience, fruitful discussions and their constant understanding for the research for my thesis. Additionally, I am very grateful for the English proofreaders, my friends Roxanne Albers, Dawn Fischer-Van Sickle, Jenny Olson and Miriam Kratzer.

Special thanks go to my friends in Cuernavaca, Mexico from Caminando Unidos and especially to Dr. Úrsula Oswald Spring, for inspiring me during my time in Mexico in terms of the research topic and for giving me a deep insight into the living conditions of poor and low-income Mexican families, as well as into the prevailing socio-economic and environmental conditions.

I am thankful for the help of the members of the National Council on Food and Nutrition Security (CONSEA) for providing me with materials and for answering my endless questions. I would like to thank Dieter Gerding, Peter Maier, Thomas Stabinski and Georg Heigel for their valuable knowledge and input to my research question and their personal support during my research stay in Fortaleza, Brazil. To finish, I want to say “thank you so much” to my sister for always being there for me and for her enthusiasm and motivation.



The present paper evaluates the two approaches Fome Zero and Oportunidades of Brazil and Mexico as strategies to improve food security. The analysis shows that various significant differences but also similarities exist in the economic, social and environmental structures of both countries.

The analysis is conducted on the basis of an examination of the current agricultural production and the import/export structure of both countries. Furthermore, the country-specific poverty structure, the conditions of food insecurity as well as three main reasons of poverty are scrutinized, which are:

- land and income concentration
- vulnerability to high food prices and food price fluctuations
- social exclusion of large parts of the society

Fome Zero[1]

The Brazilian strategy, which was established in 2003, achieved exemplary good results in the fight against hunger and poverty because the food security strategy combines structural with emergency policies and includes various approaches in order to strengthen rural development. The extensive inclusion of family farmers for the supply of the national food demand keeps Brazil relatively independent from food imports and prevents the direct transmission of extreme international price fluctuations of essential food items to low-income households.

The good result in poverty alleviation in Brazil caused a significant strengthening of the people’s purchasing power and thus provoked an economic growth in recent years which exceeds the capacities of the prevailing infrastructure and leads to a high demand of natural resources. This current situation provokes an unsustainable development, also because ecological agriculture in particular has been hardly supported and high amounts of pesticides are used within the prevailing system of intensive production.


Mexico’s joining of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 confronted millions of farmers with cheap, subsidized corn which is imported from the United States. This situation weakened the agricultural food production in Mexico and caused a dependency on international food products and thus on their prices, which highly affects the Mexican staple food corn. Extreme price shocks provoked a considerable increase in national poverty rates in recent years, especially among rural farmers.

The government’s efforts in poverty alleviation by the establishment of the Targeted and Conditional Cash Transfer Program (TCCTP) Oportunidades in 1997 are insufficient, because this strategy principally suppresses the consequences of poverty but does not counteract its most important reasons. Additionally, in Mexico, overweight and obesity are not recognized in a sufficient manner as part of food insecurity and efforts in nutrition and food education are rather poor. Furthermore, the country shows fundamental deficiencies in rural development and in the provision of adequate infrastructure. Finally, the country lacks of exit strategies and thus prevents low-income families from getting out of poverty.

The present paper shows that the fight against hunger and poverty is country-specific but also that underlying structures, which influence over the results of a food security strategy, exist. A framework of eight essential steps of a food security strategy was elaborated, which should be implemented during five different phases and be included in order to get effective and sustainable results in poverty alleviation. This framework is considered not to be country-specific and therefore be useful on an international level.


El presente trabajo científico evalúa los dos enfoques Fome Zero de Brasil y Oportunidades de México como estrategia para mejorar la seguridad alimentaria. El análisis muestra varias diferencias, pero también similtudes significativas en las estructuras económicas, sociales y ambientales que existen entre ambos países.

El análisis se lleva a cabo tomando en cuenta las bases de la producción agrícola actual y de las estructuras de importación/exportación de ambos países. Además, considera la estructura específica de pobreza de cada país, analiza las condiciones de inseguridad alimentaria, así como tres razones principales de la pobreza, las cuales son:

- la concentración de tierras y de ingresos
- la vulnerabilidad a los altos precios de los alimentos y las fluctuaciones de precios de los alimentos
- la exclusión social de grandes partes de la sociedad

Fome Zero[3]

La estrategia brasileña, la cual fue creado en el año 2003, alcanzó resultados ejemplares en la lucha contra el hambre y la pobreza, porque combina políticas estructurales y de emergencia así como un fortalecimiento del desarrollo rural. Esta situación mantiene a Brasil relativamente independiente de las importaciones de alimentos y evita la transmisión directa de las fluctuaciones extremas de precios internacionales de alimentos de primera necesidad a las familias de bajos ingresos.

La reducción considerable de la probreza causó un fortalecimiento del poder adquisitivo en Brasil provocando un crecimiento económico que actualmente supera la capacidad de la infraestructura existente y que conduce a un derroche insostenible d los recursos naturales. En particular, la agricultura ecológica existe raramente y las altas cantidades de plaguicidas siguen siendo parte esencial del sistema imperante de producción intensiva.


México se unió al Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (NAFTA) en 1994, provocando que millones de agricultores fueron confrontados con maíz barato e importado de Estados Unidos. Esto provocó una debilitación significativa de la producción agricultura en México y causó una dependencia de importaciones de alimentos y así también de los precios internacionales de los alimentos, que afecta directamente al maíz mexicano siendo este un alimento básico.

Los esfuerzos del país por reducir la pobreza a través del establecimiento del Programa de Transferencias Monetarias Condicionadas (TCCTP) Oportunidades en 1997 son insuficientes, ya que esta estrategia se basa principalmente en suprimir las consecuencias de la pobreza, pero no contrarresta sus razones más importantes. Además, en México se reconoce insuficientemente los problemas de sobrepeso y de obesidad que prevalecen en el marco de la inseguridad alimentaria, por lo que los esfuerzos en materia de nutrición y educación alimentaria son más bien pobres. Por otra parte, México muestra deficiencias fundamentales en el desarrollo rural y en la provisión de infraestructura adecuada. Por último, el país carece de estrategias de salida para que las familias de bajos ingresos puedan cambiar su estatus de pobreza.

El presente trabajo muestra que los aspectos relacionados con la lucha contra el hambre y la pobreza son específico de cada país pero también existen factores generales que influyen sobre los resultados de una estrategia. Por lo tanto, este documento ofrece un marco general de ocho pasos esenciales de una estretegia para alcanzar la seguridad alimentaria y que deben de ser realizados en cinco fases y ser integrados para obtener resultados efectivos y sustentables. Estos pasos no son específicos para cada país y por lo tanto pueden ser útiles a nivel internacional.


Die vorliegende Arbeit bewertet zwei aktuelle Ansätze von Brasilien und Mexiko im Kampf gegen Hunger und Armut. Beide Länder zeigen entscheidende Unterschiede, aber auch Gemeinsamkeiten in ihren ökonomischen, sozialen und umweltrelevanten Strukturen.

Die Analyse basiert auf einem Vergleich der landwirtschaftlichen Produktion und der Import/Export-Strukturen beider Länder. Weiterhin werden die derzeitigen Armutsstrukturen, die Lage bezüglich der Ernährungssicherung sowie drei Hauptgründe von Armut untersucht. Diese sind:

- Land- und Einkommenskonzentrationen
- Verwundbarkeit der armen Bevölkerung gegenüber zu teurer oder zu stark schwankender Nahrungsmittelpreise
- sozialer Ausschluss breiter Teile der Bevölkerung

Fome Zero [4]

Das im Jahre 2003 gestartete brasilianische Programm hat im Kampf gegen Hunger und Armut bereits beispielhaft gute Ergebnisse erzielt. Die Ernährungssicherungsstrategie koppelt strukturelle Strategien mit Notfallstrategien und beinhaltet eine Vielzahl von Methoden, um die ländliche Entwicklung zu fördern.

Die erfolgreiche Bekämpfung der Armut hat in den vergangenen Jahren die Kaufkraft der brasilianischen Bevölkerung gestärkt und das Wirtschaftswachstum gefördert. Diese Entwicklung führt aktuell dazu, dass die vorhandenen Kapazitäten der Infrastruktur nicht mehr genügen und sich eine hohe Nachfrage nach natürlichen Ressourcen eingestellt hat. Dadurch wird jedoch eine ökologisch nicht nachhaltige Entwicklung unterstützt. Ökologische Landwirtschaft im Besonderen wurde in den letzten Jahren kaum gefördert und das derzeitige System der intensiven Landwirtschaft wird mit Hilfe großer Mengen von Pestiziden gefördert.


In Mexiko hat der Beitritt zum Nordamerikanischen Freihandelsabkommen (NAFTA) im Jahre 1994 Millionen mexikanischer Bauern mit billigen, subventionierten Maisimporten aus den Vereinigten Staaten konfrontiert. Diese Entwicklung hin zum Freihandel hat zu einer Schwächung der nationalen landwirtschaftlichen Produktion geführt, einen Anstieg von Lebensmittelimporten bewirkt und dadurch eine Abhängigkeit von internationalen Lebensmittelpreisen hervorgerufen. Die mexikanische Bevölkerung ist besonders von starken Schwankungen im Preis ihres Grundnahrungsmittels Mais betroffen.

Des Weiteren haben sich die Bemühungen der mexikanischen Regierung, die Armut zu reduzieren, durch das im Jahre 1997 gegründete konditionierte Sozialhilfeprogramm Oportunidades als unzureichend herausgestellt, weil es hauptsächlich die Konsequenzen von Armut bekämpft anstatt den wichtigsten Ursachen von Hunger und Armut entgegenzuwirken. Hinzu kommt, dass Mexiko die Konsequenzen falscher Ernährung, wie Übergewicht und Adipositas, bisher nicht in ausreichendem Maße als Teil der Ernährungssunsicherheit anerkennt und daher bisher kaum Ansätze für Ernährungserziehung entwickelt hat.

Zusätzlich fehlen Strategien für ländliche Entwicklung und ein Angebot adäquater Infrastruktur. Außerdem zeigt Mexiko einen Mangel an Exit-Strategien um sozial schwachen Familien den Ausstieg aus der Armut zu erleichtern.

Die vorliegende Arbeit stellt heraus, dass der Kampf gegen Hunger und Armut zwar länderspezifisch ist, aber dass es entscheidende Kriterien gibt, welche die Ergebnisse einer Ernährungssicherungsstrategie beeinflussen. Hierfür wurde ein Leitfaden von acht essentiellen Schritten herausgearbeitet welche in fünf Phasen realisiert werden sollten um effektive und nachhaltige Resultate einer Ernährungssicherungsstrategie zu erreichen. Diese Kriterien sind nicht länderspezifisch und können daher auch auf internationaler Ebene von Nutzen sein.

1 Introduction

Brazil and Mexico are two Latin American countries with completely different environmental, social, political and economic structures. However, like various other countries all over the world, both are confronted with considerably high rates of people which suffer hunger and live in extreme poverty. Therefore, Mexico and Brazil implemented strategies to improve national food security and to fight against poverty during the last two decades. The two approaches – Oportunidades (Mexico) and Fome Zero (Brazil) – present two examples of a country’s effort to fight against hunger and poverty but a couple of years after the implementation they show completely different results.

Fome Zero is a strategy which has reached exemplary good results in the fight against hunger. In the period from 1999 to 2009, the number of poor people decreased constantly from 44 to 29.6 million. For this reason, ten years before the deadline, Brazil has achieved the first goal of the Millennium Development Goals, which were established by the United Nations Organization (UNO), to reduce the number of people living in conditions of extreme poverty by half within the period from 1990 to 2015 (Da Silva, Del Grossi & De França, 2011, pp. 18 – 19).

The poverty level in Mexico increased sharply in the first few years after it had joined the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), decreased to its previous level of 1994 until 2007 and has been increasing again up to the present day. The development of the Mexican poverty level clearly depends, among others, on the international food prices and even though the anti-hunger program Oportunidades has been established in 1997, the number of people living in poverty has not significantly decreased yet. In 2010, 49,900,000 from 112,336,538 Mexicans suffered from food insecurity to a certain extent, which amounts to 44.42% of the population (CONVENAL, 2012).

The present paper has the objective to examine the most essential aspects of the country-specific improvement of food security and poverty reduction and to find out, whether general factors, which should be considered within the establishment of respective strategies, do exist. Hence, first of all, the paper provides an introduction to the most important fundamentals and definitions of hunger and poverty related terms. Secondly, it scrutinizes the most important reasons and influencing factors to poverty and realizes a country-specific analysis for both Mexico and Brazil. This examination includes an overview of the countries’ food production and import-export structure and then provides a comparison of the corresponding poverty and food insecurity structures. Additionally, the most important reasons of poverty will be described. Finally, within the scope of the analysis, both strategies, Fome Zero and Oportunidades, are presented and their results in poverty reduction shown.

In the evaluation part of the paper, the efforts of both countries, the respective results and the most important weaknesses in hunger and poverty reduction will be compared. Finally, the paper proposes eight different steps as framework for the integration of essential aspects of anti-hunger and anti-poverty strategies. Here, the proposal includes five general, essential phases which should be considered within the design and the implementation of a food security strategy in order to achieve effective and sustainable results. These are not country-specific and thus can be useful on an international level.

2 Theoretical Framework

The analysis of a country’s poverty structure is very complex and the evaluation of differently working anti-hunger policies even more so. In the context of poverty and hunger, there are a lot of closely connected terms used synchronously within a topic with structural interrelations which are difficult to separate. Do terms such as extreme poverty, poverty, hunger, undernourishment and malnutrition among others have the same or a similar meaning? What are the differences? If a system is confronted with poverty and food insecurity conditions, which strategy is the right one to establish? When should a country aim at poverty alleviation or establish a strategy to improve food security? What does it mean to implement policies to fight hunger and poverty?

The title of the present work describes Fome Zero and Oportunidades as two programs against hunger and presumes them to be two different approaches to improve national food security. But do both programs have the sole objective to fight against hunger, or also to overcome poverty? What are the exact differences and how are these terms interconnected? The truth is, food security, hunger and poverty are concepts with completely different meanings but are strongly interconnected, which makes it even more difficult to treat them separately.

Nonetheless, it is crucial to understand the differences and the exact meaning of the work’s fundamental concepts. This chapter presents, first, the central definitions and outlines the terms’ interrelations and overlaps within the areas of study. Then, second, it presents the basic foundations of anti-hunger and anti-poverty strategies. The third subchapter gives an overview of the most important internal and external influencing factors on poverty and hunger, which must be addressed through the development of an efficiently working strategy to improve food security.

2.1 Definitions

Non-uniform uses of the terms hunger, undernourishment, food security, food sovereignty, or poverty complicate the reader’s comprehension, and the comparability of different indicators or countries may become blurred. To avoid terminological uncertainties, the most important terms are defined in the following paragraphs.

2.1.1 Hunger, Undernourishment and Undernutrition

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) still is the central and mostly used institution for providing definitions regarding food security related terms. Therefore, the present study defines hunger, according to FAO , as a caloric intake of less than 1800 kilocalories per day and person, which is the minimum intake in order to enable a healthy and active life. The threshold of the minimum population dietary energy consumption varies between different countries and expresses the necessary amount in order to realize sedentary or light activities (FAO, 2008, p. 2).

Undernourishment and chronic hunger describe the consequences of an inadequate supply of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals caused by an insufficient food intake, a deficient food quality, or a limited ingestion of nutrition due to infections or diseases. These kinds of alimentary deficits are often closely related to inadequate care of children by parents, insufficient access to health services or local pollution (FAO, 2008, p. 3). An additional concept is undernutrition, which in contrast to undernourishment not necessarily refers to people with underweight but to people with general vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies. Undernutrition is

the result of prolonged low levels of food intake/or low absorption of food consumed. Generally applied to energy (or protein and energy) deficiency, but it may also relate to vitamin and mineral deficiencies (FAO, 2013).

Generally undernutrition is considered to be a broader definition of food insecurity, because the term, beside undernourishment, also refers to malnourished people with overweight. This is because people with a vitamin or mineral deficiency are not automatically underweighted, too.

The present paper examines the poverty and food insecurity structures of the two countries Brazil and Mexico. An exact assessment of the food security or poverty status of the described and affected groups of society is beyond the scope of this paper and highly difficult to realize. This is because both countries use different methods to measure poverty and food insecurity, which will be shown in detail in the chapters (Brazil) and (Mexico). In most cases, the respective indicators to measure poverty or food insecurity refer to a certain economic status of a person or a family. By that, this person or family is classified to a certain poverty or food security condition.

However, the economic status can just indicate the very probable nutritional status of a person if his income is significantly low. Extreme poor people are confronted more frequently with undernourishment and underweight as a type of food insecurity. If a person is poor, but at least has access to basic food items, the condition of food insecurity tends to switch from underweight to undernutrition and overweight. This is why it is very difficult to exactly specify the nutritional and health status of all poor individuals. Therefore, the present paper tries to specify the different terms and poverty conditions of the affected population groups, but is not able to make an exact difference between some aspects such as hunger and undernourishment.

2.1.2 Poverty

Hunger and poverty are two mutually dependent terms. On the one hand, hunger or inadequate nutrition causes poverty by limiting the person’s daily corporal or mental capacities or by affecting their general health status. On the other hand, hunger is a result of poverty, because very often a lack of financial resources and limited access to markets make it difficult to assure a balanced daily food supply. However, the term poverty, in addition to consumption structures and food security , includes further sectors in which poor people are vulnerable to suffer from limited access or discrimination such as infrastructure, institutions, human dignity, rights or security among others.

Poverty encompasses different dimensions of deprivation that relate to human capabilities including consumption and food security, health, education, rights, voice, security, dignity and decent work (FAO, 2008, p. 3).

The present paper distinguishes between the terms hunger and poverty, but it also takes into consideration that both terms are interacting and thus claims that policies overcoming both are needed in order to be effective. Thus it assumes that a person who is hungry is also poor, and that a poor person is at least much more vulnerable to hunger than other classes of society.

There are two important main concepts which are frequently used in order to overcome conditions of extreme poverty, hunger, undernourishment and undernutrition. The first one refers to a desired status of food security within a country and the second one claims for food sovereignty, which is a complementing concept to food security. The difference is explained in the following section.

2.1.3 Food Security: a Top-down Approach

The terms hunger and undernourishment describe a kind of the individual’s state of alimentation while the term food security also includes the individual’s vulnerability to receive sufficient food. Food security

exists when all people at all times have both physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs for an active and healthy life (FAO, 2013).

The term food security often is criticized to be a top-down approach[6] and thus as not to consider individual consumption patterns, traditions and used production methods in an adequate manner, but only to claim for a sufficient caloric and nutritional intake.

As shown in figure 1, the concept of food security concerns different groups of society, which are vulnerable to inadequate nutrition. Food security exists when people do have access to adequate and sufficient food, but food in security, not only refers to a too low intake of calories, minerals or nutrients, but also is comprised of overweight or obese people who are at risk for many health problems because of the intake of too much and/or inadequate food (FAO, 2013). Therefore, food insecurity is a comprehensive concept that includes all the conditions of a human being which could cause constraints in welfare and health due to aspects related to food (see figure 1). This means that the concept of food insecurity includes the concept of under- and malnutrition, undernourishment as well as obesity and overweight and refers to all people which are limited by food aspects.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1 : Areas and margins of food insecurity.

Source: Takagi, 201, p. 164.

The borders between concepts such as hunger and extreme poverty are not always clear, can present strong variations between groups of people and are of continuous change.

In the United States comprehensive surveys regarding the people’s food consumption were carried out, which indicate that people vulnerable to food insecurity “follow a behavior based on the resources available to them: first, they save money consuming increasingly cheap food items, but preserving the same quantity until they exhaust all possibilities of replacing them based on their prices and begin to eat less, reaching the hunger threshold” (Takagi, 2011, p. 169). People who cannot purchase sufficient to eat because of losing the possibility to replace more food items in order to save money show that there is also a group of people in between. These are those groups of society which are hungry, but still not showing signs of deprivation or health problems. But they suffer “the experience of being unsatisfied, of not getting enough to eat” (Takagi, 2011, pp. 169 – 170).

However, the most vulnerable people are those who are suffering hunger frequently. Presenting the most severe form of food insecurity, they are extremely poor, undernourished, suffer hunger and thus are limited in their activity. Finally they are also – among other things – seriously vulnerable to diseases or death. In this paper, hungry people and those living in extreme poverty are equally treated.

Whereas food security is sometimes criticized to be a top-down approach because of undermining local traditions and traditional preparation methods by considering food as a pure act of nutrition intake, the concept of food sovereignty is presumed to be a bottom-up approach, considering local factors such as naturally available resources, traditional or religious habits of the people as fundamental to reaching food security.

2.1.4 Food Sovereignty: a Bottom-up Approach

Generally, FAO’s definition of food security refers to the human right to sufficient food for all people and excludes non-food issues like social or cultural factors of food and nutrition. That is why various organizations have developed the concept of food sovereignty, which defines the term food as a holistic one that includes aspects of property rights of land plots, access to seeds, credits, the right to practice family traditions, to maintain social relations of traditional production or of consumption patterns in combination with communitarian cohesion.

It also respects the human senses such as seeing, smelling, touching and tasting, and does not define nutrition as a simple physiological process, referring to food absorption and processes like ingestion, digestion and the metabolic transformation in the cells (Oswald Spring, 2009, p. 2). Food sovereignty also lays claim to adequate qualitative and quantitative food for all people of a country, but additionally considers traditional methods of food preparation and production, culinary specialties and so forth. Therefore, the term food sovereignty adds to the right of adequate food the people’s right to determine and to practice their conventional methods of agriculture, fishing, food and land policies within adequate ecological, social, economic and cultural circumstances (Oswald Spring, 2009, p. 5).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2 : Comparison of food security and food sovereignty.

Source: Own illustration.

As shown in figure 2, food sovereignty includes social, cultural, economic, political and identity factors. The term stands for a holistic understanding of life and defines food as a crucial element of any world civilization. Food

includes networks of connectedness (vertical: patron-client, and horizontal: social groups), belonging, relationship of trust, reciprocity, cooperation and exchange. It creates social benefits and risk reduction, but also innovative activities through a wider access to information and learning. It is a process of anchoring of personal and group identity […], where social relations reaffirm the integration of a person inside a community with clear rights and obligations, such as access to land, credit, technology, training, market life quality and rituals (Oswald Spring, 2009, p. 2).

Food is a central aspect of life and creates fundamental social relations between human beings. Processes such as personal exchange and cooperation generate benefits like social integration and the creation of personal learning processes, as well as strengthen the fundament of personal and group identity. A person who has a well-defined obligation within a society learns to take on responsibilities, feels needed and is able to develop his character and personal skills. The access to input factors such as credits, technology, seeds, respects local peoples’ traditional methods of production, maintains their proper quality of life and supports the realization and the maintenance of rituals and traditions.

The present paper considers all the aspects of food sovereignty to be an essential part of a comprehensive strategy to improve food security. Both programs, Fome Zero and Oportunidades, will be evaluated taking into consideration all the demands of food sovereignty. When the present paper uses the expression strategies to improve food security, it always considers all the aspects of food sovereignty. Both strategies will be explained and evaluated in a way, which respects all important factors of food security as well as of food sovereignty.

As shown in this chapter, the definitions of concepts like hunger, poverty, food security and food sovereignty are strongly connected and basic principles of strategies to overcome hunger and poverty can be derived, what will be discussed in the following chapter.

2.2 Food Security and Anti-Poverty Policies

The term undernutrition refers to under- and overweight people because both groups of society can represent an inadequate intake of food or nutrients. That is one reason why a food security policy should not be equated with an anti-poverty policy. Whereas the policy to improve food security can include a policy to overcome poverty and/or a strategy to prevent obesity or also be an emergency act to immediately help hungry people, an anti-poverty strategy does not automatically include a mechanism against obesity. However, all aspects revolving around food and nutrition thus have a common root and are closely connected. On the one hand, it is true that hunger is a main cause of poverty because it directly affects a person’s capacity to be productive. On the other hand, a person who is poor usually has constrained access to food, which is why poverty also is a main cause of hunger. They are not the same, but the two concepts of hunger and poverty together form a vicious circle which limits the people’s capacity to break out. Therefore, both conditions should be targeted at the same time in order to achieve long-lasting and effective results, and both aspects should be the central subject in the development of anti-hunger as well as of anti-poverty strategies.

If a country aims at reaching or even guaranteeing food security, the established policies – as mentioned above – generally concern all human beings and all classes of society within national borders. As the present work will show in later chapters, there is a direct relationship between hunger and income, which obviously affects in particular poorer classes of society. However, also high-income classes show significantly high rates of overweight and obesity. This is a fact that must also be included in a food security policy. Thus, a comprehensive policy should target at no-hunger, but also deal with a general lack in nutrition and consequences of obesity, include food and nutritional education for all classes of society, ensure high quality and food safety and address product labeling among others (Takagi, 2011, p. 163).

Even though it seems to be a logic issue, hunger generally is not an issue caused by a lack of food, a fact which becomes clear in countries which, on the one hand, are confronted with high rates of hungry people and, on the other hand, generally present an agricultural surplus and high export rates of food products, as it is the case in Brazil. Hunger principally is caused due to two main reasons. First, the prices for food are too high in relation to the people’s wages, often is resulting in unequal distribution or production patterns. Second, other fundamental expenses such as rent, health care, education, and transportation among others are too high, so that the wages are not sufficient to meet both nutritional expenses and other expenses, even though the food prices generally may be low. This is another reason why it is important to separate strategies which aim at fighting hunger from those which have the objective to fight against poverty (Takagi, 2011, pp. 163 – 164).

In Latin America, poor people do not necessarily belong to especially vulnerable groups of society such as elderly people, ethnic minorities or single mothers, as it is mainly the case in developed countries. It is an effect within larger parts of the population due to structural deficits such as unequal income distribution, land concentration, considerable low wages, lack of infrastructure and a limited access to health installations among others. The main causes lie in fundamental basic shortages in a country’s socio-economic, political and environmental structures. This is one reason why cash transfer programs are considered to be successful in the fight against the exclusion of certain groups of society, but are not solely able to overcome structural inequalities causing high poverty rates. As emergency policies should be accompanied by structural policies, also cash transfer programs should always be complemented by well-defined structural and emergency policies positioned to overcome the most fundamental lacks in a system’s structure and distributed within the most vulnerable groups of society (Takagi, 2011, p. 164).

Nonetheless, hunger is one of the most central aspects of food security because it immediately affects the people’s health conditions, their vulnerability to diseases, their personal development as well as their capacity to learn, to work and finally, to be productive. Therefore, policies of an emergent character which directly address hunger and often aim at improving immediately extreme vulnerable living conditions, can include direct food aids, school meal programs, nutrition supplementation, cash and food transfer programs, and so forth. Strategies tackling only the causes of hunger are not sufficient to comprehensively overcome all the aspects of poverty or food security. In order to achieve long-term results, they should be implemented together with structural improvements such as better access to educational infrastructure and to health installations, mechanisms to improve local economies and increase people’s income, as it was done in the case of Brazil which will be explained later (Takagi, 2011, p. 165) (FAO, 2008, p. 2).

A central method of poverty alleviation could be the strengthening of traditional rural production taking into consideration the capacities of rural areas, in order to support local food production and personal capacity building. Especially in times of climate change, globalization processes, environmental contamination and limited natural resources, the support of rural areas and traditional production processes is a fundamental mechanism in order to strengthen a country’s system in its foundations. The strengthening of small production systems involving poor people has a double positive effect then. On the one hand, it lifts people out of poverty by creating jobs, it stimulates local economy and increases the population’s income. On the other hand, it reduces the local vulnerability and protects rural citizens from price shocks, strengthens their competitiveness and protects natural resources (Oswald Spring, 2009, p. 472).

Finally, the strengthening of rural areas and the integration of low-skilled workers into markets can not only boost the rural economy, but can also contribute considerably to national economic growth, especially when local capacities support efficient production for export products.

The next chapter presents an outline which shows why it is so important to spread food security policies within different areas and groups of society affected by internal and external influencing factors in order to break structures of poverty. To give an overview, for the present paper, the most important internal and external influencing factors of poverty and hunger are divided and presented in the next chapter within a vicious circle of poverty and hunger. The outline is followed by a brief explanation of some essential influencing factors.

2.3 The Vicious Circle of Poverty and Hunger

As mentioned before, poverty and hunger are two closely connected conditions of human being which interfere with each other, and therefore should be fought by a combination of adequate strategies. This is because extreme poverty and hunger are not coincidental phenomena (Takagi, 2011, p. 171). Studies indicate that “extreme poverty explains about half the differences observed in the magnitude of undernutrition in countries: 49% of the variation in the global undernutrition rate and 57% of the variation in moderate-serious chronic undernutrition among countries are attributed to differences in the percentage of extreme poverty” (Takagi, 2011, p. 172). That means that there are still other factors that contribute to extreme poverty and that just the increase in income of poor families often is not sufficient to overcome undernutrition.

Hunger, therefore, is not just the result of poverty but also of additional influencing factors such as the schooling of the mothers, the intra-household food distribution which often favors the children and puts especially the mothers at a disadvantage, the availability of social assistance, as well as cases in which people adapt to a lower caloric intake by reducing physical activity. Therefore, “fighting extreme poverty is a major requirement for reducing hunger” (Takagi, 2011, p. 172). But, “efforts to reduce it should not, alone, be expected to eradicate hunger in a reasonable deadline” (Takagi, 2011, p. 172). Otherwise, just giving people enough to eat is not sufficient to overcome extreme poverty. There are other factors that must be addressed such as access to drinking water and to sanitary installations, the availability of required health institutions and education concerning both hygiene and healthy food preparation, which maintains traditional food habits (Takagi, 2011, p. 172).

The vicious circle of hunger and poverty has two sides where factors can influence the demand and the supply side. Each side can be affected and weakened by structural lacks and deficits in local development. These factors cause poverty and – because it is a vicious circle – complicate the situation of poverty and hunger more at every turn. Further, the influencing factors to poverty and hunger can be divided into internal and external factors.

Figure 3 presents the internal and the external influencing factors to poverty and hunger. The internal factors are principally endogen, arise within national borders and are thus not dependent from external factors. Factors such as extreme climate events e.g., can indeed be influenced by extensive pollution from industrialized countries in other locations in all over the world, but as these interrelations are not analyzed within this study, they will be treated here as internal aspects.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 3 : The vicious circle of hunger with internal and external influencing factors.

Source: Own illustration.

Hunger is an extreme and specific situation and principally a result of poverty, which is why it is in the circle’s center. The more a person is located in the middle of the circle, the more difficult is it to break out.

On the demand side the poor population is located, i.e. regularly unskilled and/or unemployed people, employees with low wages, elderly, ill or hungry people disabled to work. These groups of society suffer from internal influencing factors such as the lack of jobs, no access to infrastructure or social assistance, too low wages, from consequences of income and land concentrations, environmental or other diseases or an inadequate access to food (low quantity and/or low quality). These conditions result in decreased purchasing power and therefore limit access to food for even more people. The low purchasing power of the poor population has significant effects on the supply side, i.e. the rural farmer who sells his local food products to owners and employees of grocery stores and other small enterprises. The lack in demand lowers the local wages and decreases the availability of jobs, which has a negative effect on the rural production. A decreasing income for the farmers results in less employment and thus limits the opportunities to purchase production favoring input factors such as improved seed, technologies, irrigation systems causing a drop in food production and prices.

On the supply side, there are additional internal influencing factors to poverty and hunger. Harvest losses due to droughts, intensive rainfalls, plagues or other extreme climatic or environmental events cause a high vulnerability for local farmers, because these directly affect the local living conditions and can provoke an increase in poverty rates. Other internal factors are excessive interest rates or other aspects which limit a farmer’s capacity to take out loans in order to purchase input factors. These limitations can affect the farmers’ competitiveness in the market.

Low income and the loss of jobs on the supply side again negatively affect the demand side, because more employees get lower wages or become unemployed, which limits the access of additional people to food. An extreme vulnerability of the local people would arise in the case of an increase in the number or the intensity of influencing factors, e.g. because of a loss in harvest. In this case, people would be limited on two sides at the same time: in their access to food due to low economic resources on the demand side and due to losses in production within subsistence farming or a general low local supply in food products on the supply side. The increase in unemployment strengthens the conditions of income concentration and environmental diseases: the vicious circle starts again. The supply and the demand side are closely connected and influence each other and both can be negatively affected by additional internal influencing factors.

In addition to internal influencing factors, there are also external aspects that can negatively affect national poverty and hunger rates. On the demand side, a dependency on international food prices can be an external factor resulting in higher poverty rates, especially in the case of sudden price fluctuations. The effects such fluctuations can have on national poverty rates can be observed in the case of Mexico, as it happened during the tortilla crisis in 2007/2008 (see chapter

There are a lot of different factors influencing poverty and hunger, which tend to feed off each other and strengthen the vicious cycle, making it very difficult to break. Therefore, one central aspect of fighting hunger and poverty is to establish strategies for the most critical and severely influencing points and to provide effective exit strategies. That means that strategies – in addition to improving the people’s living conditions – should mend structural lacks and immediately help the most vulnerable and then offer well-designed strategies to accompany the people’s exit out of poverty. People should – in the best case and in long-term oriented cases – become independent from outside help, become integrated into local economies and into society and get sustainable access to sufficient and adequate food.

Moreover, they should become able to work by being healthy and vital enough to realize daily activities by getting access to sanitary and health installations or by becoming able to live adequately from subsistence farming. Indeed, they should not only find themselves in better living conditions, but become independent – in the long-term – from cash or material transfers or other programs. A survey conducted by the Brazilian IBGE reported that 2/3 of the families who in 2004 already were covered by cash transfer programs still lived in conditions of food insecurity, which is a sign “that the cash transfers are not sufficient in themselves, to ensure access to adequate food on a regular basis” (Takagi, 2011, p. 171). But, as will be shown within the specific Brazilian case in chapter 4.1, there is a correlation between low income and food insecurity. Generally, the strategies against hunger and poverty in the period from 2002 to 2004 have shown a reduction in poverty. These results indicate that the combination of both – a higher availability of jobs and cash transfers – succeeded (Takagi, 2011, p. 171).

The Brazilian experience indicates that it is crucial to establish cash transfer programs together with programs generating employment. Moreover, a program should provide exit strategies, i.e. the program should help the poor to break the vicious circle of poverty and hunger and, in the long term, to become independent from the governmental programs, through their integration into available social and economic structures. Thus, it is crucial to provide a system which is also able to integrate the poor.

Figure 3 gives an overview about both internal and external influencing factors. But, the external influencing factors which refer to the effects of trade liberalization on poverty is a complex topic which will be explained in detail in the following subchapter.

2.3.1 Trade Liberalization as an External Influencing Factor to Poverty

As shown in the vicious circle of hunger and poverty, high fluctuations in food prices – strong price increases or decreases – as result of trade liberalization are an important external influencing factor to hunger and poverty rates. According to FAO, the volatility of food prices is not only one out of many factors influencing hunger, but one of the most important reasons for food insecurity (FAO, 2011, p.1). In a lot of cases, international negotiations favoring trade liberalization and the establishment of non-tariff barriers has resulted in an increase in food insecurity and in national poverty rates. Whether there are considerably serious interrelations between national trade policies, increasing prices and poverty rates or not, depends, among other things, on the traded goods themselves and the existence of national policies favoring rural development. Thus, they are country-specific phenomena (Winters, 2002, p. 1340). On the one hand, there is the widespread opinion that, in the long run, open trade markets can have positive effects on a country’s development by favoring economic growth. On the other hand, open markets are often subject to price speculations and to international discussions regarding overspilling side effects such as distorted competition, e.g., or undesired internal processes such as sectorial unemployment, among others.

There is the extensive assumption that the opening of markets exposes national economies to shocks, or, more generally, to external influences which can generate additional uncertainties inside of national borders and, by undermining national social and economic developments, increase a country’s vulnerability (Winters, 2002, p. 1339). The channels, through which trade liberalization can negatively affect national food security and poverty rates, are very complex and difficult to analyze, because they are – as mentioned above – country-specific. This chapter aims at explaining the most important channels affecting poverty through trade liberalization processes in order to provide a basis for understanding the way strategies work, opposing these influencing factors. They are a crucial part of comprehensive anti-poverty and anti–hunger policies.

Effects of trade liberalization on poverty and hunger still have not been a central part of detailed scientific analysis and empirical data collection, because there is still a lack of historical experiences. In the paper “Trade Liberalisation and Poverty: What are the Links?” the author Alan Winters analyzes the main channels through which a nation’s poverty can be affected by trade liberalization. First of all, Winters states that a first step in the identification of the influencing factors is the previous drawing up of a detailed poverty profile. Additionally, it is important to consider that trade liberalization can have significant effects on poverty, but is not its main cause. “[…] it could have significant effects on the stock of ‘poor’, while apparently having little to do with that stock directly” (Winters, 2002, p. 1341). Furthermore, poverty is not a static condition. The structures and influencing factors – such as processes of trade liberalization – can at any time cause a rapid and significant turnover of families into and out of poverty (Winters, 2002, p. 1341).

Winters emphasizes four main channels through which trade policies can have effects on poverty: households, distribution channels, factor markets [7] and government. Furthermore, he “consider[s] the dynamic questions of volatility, long-term economic growth and short-term adjustment stresses” (Winters, 2002, p. 1340). The four main channels are explained in detail in the next paragraphs. Households

A poverty profile is often measured in the amount of poor individuals or households. A household refers to people who live together in a close relationship, being confronted daily with internal questions of production and consumption. This concept refers mainly to rural households, but can also refer to other households which are occupied in the production of goods or services. In simple terms, a household’s welfare can be expressed by the difference of the household’s income and the sum of the prices of goods and services a household periodically has to cope with. Income is recognized to be the sum of all the earned wages, financial and material transfers, extra remittances, official financial transfers and profits generated by a household’s production decisions (Winters, 2002, p. 1341).

In case of a price change, the effect on households depends strongly on the amount this good is consumed and of its proportion to total expenditure, and a household’s net supply of that good at current prices. “In practical terms, then, to predict poverty effects we need to know the price changes implied by a shock and poor household’s net supply position” (Winters, 2002, p. 1341). The effect of a shock on a household’s welfare depends on how these households will respond to the fluctuation in prices. On the one hand, if a family is considered to be vulnerable and is not protected by social policies or able to change their consumption patterns in an adequate way, it is highly probable that this household is going to be affected in welfare and – in the worst case – becomes poor. On the other hand, the confrontation with a price shock can push families to search for additional sources of income and thus decrease their general vulnerability (Winters, 2002, p. 1342).

Indeed, the sizes of external shocks for which the households have to compensate, depend on how they share their factors, work and capital, in relation to their income/return/wages, and the extension of the change. Within an analysis of the question how jobs are taken by rural workers, it is important to keep in mind that, especially in developing countries, rents can vary significantly depending on the location and on the type of work. Generally, it is not surprising that an employment with a higher wage is preferred to a job with a lower one. But, it has some significance to analyze the trade-off between wages for a “traded” labor and “virtual” work at home, i.e. the question, for which wage a person decides to take up explicit work. This is a question which may be also balanced with probable transportation costs or additional costs for outside alimentation (Winters, 2002, p. 1342).

In case that a shock causes the loss of an employee, the probability that a person will fall into poverty is very high, but this case also depends on a person’s capacity to switch to another occupation. Also a central part of an analysis on whether a shock provokes poverty or not, is the structure of land distribution and the families’ properties of other assets. High concentrations of land, indeed, are not caused by trade liberalization, but are an internal structure which can strengthen the household’s impoverishment due to a higher vulnerability, whereas people owning land have more possibilities to respond in a flexible way (Winters, 2002, p. 1342).

However, the internal structures within a household also have significance. Income is not always well-distributed between a family’s members and it is often argued that women, children and elderly people are more vulnerable to impoverishment than men. This is why another relevant aspect to consider is the intra-household distribution. Winters stresses two possible approaches to investigate the respective structures. First, one interested in further investigation can present a detailed description of the households followed by an extra-analysis regarding the intra-household distribution. Or, and this is the second possibility, one can investigate welfare on the individual level and add some descriptions of inter-personal transfers.

Winter points out that the former variation, to describe generating household activities first and, second, to create a model of distribution, is a much easier and more effective option. But, on the one hand, it is still very difficult to find available data for respective gender questions and, on the other hand, influencing factors of intra-household distributions are case-specific, which is why the separation within a distribution model is just not feasible (Winters, 2002, p. 1343). However, gender roles and inter-generational distribution patterns as well as different grades of vulnerability of family members are interesting and very important questions of investigation. Nevertheless, the present work is not able to examine such details, which is why intra-household distribution will not be treated in the programs’ evaluation or within the analysis of country-specific poverty structures. Distribution Channels

Direct Effects of a Price Change – The Distribution Sector

As previously explained, price fluctuation can affect households’ welfare through different channels. One of them is the distribution sector. If a change in price is caused by a change in the custom tariff, a change in the exchange rate or a change in the price for a single good, it can have significant effects on the household’s welfare for both imported and exported goods. Regarding an imported good, the price after crossing a border is influenced by the world’s price of that good, the tariffs it faces and the respective exchange rate. Inside the importing country, the wholesale price is comprised of additional domestic taxes, costs for distribution, internal regulation and monitoring costs among others. If the product is sent to more distribution points, it is possible that it faces additional costs such as taxes or regulatory fees. Winters calls the final resulting price the retail price. From this point, the good is distributed to individuals and to households. Now, the way the price of the good influences the household’s welfare includes relevant aspects such as the number of household members and the respective income structure, the available time, personal skills as well as the access to land and technology. In case that the price shock comes together with other significant influencing factors such as an extreme climate event, the family’s vulnerability to climate change plays a key role, as shown in the vicious circle of hunger and poverty. But for example, if a family owns a piece of land and has access to any input factor which could increase the yield or prevent climatic shocks this can have positive effects on a household’s vulnerability (Winters, 2002, p. 1344).

A good for export, after its production, faces local marketing patterns, becomes part of the national supply and is finally sold to foreign countries. The final price includes all the respective incurred costs and mark-ups. In case that there is a given world price for the products, all the mentioned additional costs come off the farm-gate price (Winters, 2002, pp. 1344 – 1345).

An analysis of the transmitting channels and the involved institutions and agents is crucial for a detailed investigation regarding the effects of trade liberalization on poverty and hunger. Different buyers – monopsonistic ones, marketing cooperatives or individuals – respond to price shocks in a completely different way. But there are policies which can effectively block the transmission of shocks to households. Two of those policies are the regulation of a fixed market price for essential food products and compensatory stock-piling of products within the basic basket of food. These are mechanisms, which – as the present work will show in later chapters, especially in the case of Brazil – prevent the population from experiencing the effects of external price fluctuations. If a price shock is considerably high, it can cause higher poverty rates and thus isolate households from the market – a consequence that has a double effect on the people’s impoverishment, because it affects both the demand and supply side, where people probably have to pay their credits and other related inputs for agriculture or marketing.

There are many different factors influencing whether trade liberalization will have significant negative effect on poverty or not (Winters, 2002, p. 1346).

This discussion prompts three comments. First, and most obviously the effects of liberalization depend on where you set off from. […] Second, usually many goods are liberalized at once, so that the effects on individual households will be the sums of many individual shocks. When some of the goods affected are inputs into the production of others, the net effect is quite complex and it is important to consider the balance of forces […]. Third, one needs to know how the household will accommodate the price changes (Winters, 2002, p. 1346).

The more the prices of goods are affected and the more the affected products play a key role within a household, the higher the impact of trade liberalization on poverty. Maize, as it is the basic food in Mexico, plays a key role in most of traditional food preparation and a price shock in corn obviously will have a severe effect on the household’s welfare. In case that farmers depend on goods, confronted with price fluctuations and need them for their own production, the total effect will be even more complex, which is why it is important to consider all the respective interrelations of production factors.

Finally, the question of how households are able to face price changes is the central point. On the one hand, in case that they depend highly on their regular activities, the losses can be significantly high. On the other hand, if the families can switch to other activities and thus are flexible in their reaction to price shocks, the losses are relatively small. Here, families may take advantage of those changes and have additional benefit instead of great losses.

Indirect Effects of a Price Change – The Domain of Trade

If a shock is transmitted from an exported or an imported good to a household, it may also channel the shock further to other markets and thus cause quantity effects[8]. Important here is the domain in which the good is traded and the question of which kinds of agents are involved. If a product is traded only on the local level, the domain is relatively small and the effect of a price change is going to face a geographically more limited area, but economically it will have a considerably high significance. In the case of a price shock, a product traded on national level –– will cause quantity effects on the national level, probably also in the case of relatively small price changes. Generally, changes in prices are widespread and can switch or extend from one region to another, being transmitted from one market to another (Winters, 2002, p. 1346).

As previously mentioned, there is the general assumption that trade liberalization has positive effects on a national economy. In case of agricultural markets, trade liberalization can stimulate local production and thus can also help to overcome poverty. An increase in the demand of agricultural products can push local economies and thus generate overall employment.

However, both countries of investigation, Mexico and Brazil still show, particularly in rural areas significantly high rates of poverty and unemployment. Moreover, the access to sanitary installations, education and other infrastructure is often even worse than in urban areas. But, especially rural areas are considered to have an excess in human capital, i.e. labor, which can, although many workers are unskilled, be a good starting point for integrating them successfully into markets and by that let local production and incomes grow. This can be an economic stimulation with the capacity to push the whole national economy.

With this in mind it is important to assume that the import of a good, if prices always were fixed, is just a lost opportunity to generate jobs and additional income by the export of goods. But, if a country imports, it is also very probable that a country aims at supporting its production additionally for exports in order to generate sufficient income to pay for the imported goods. But, if the production of export goods is realized mainly within urban areas and does not generate jobs for the poorest, the positive effects for poverty alleviation are not as large as within agricultural economies and non-skilled workers (Winters, 2002, p. 1347). Factor Markets

“Trade Theory” – Fixed Factor Supplies

Winters assumes that within poverty analysis the central factor market is unskilled-labor. For this reason, this subchapter stresses two different forms within markets. “The first form stresses that in a traditional international trade theory the factor supplies are exogenously fixed because goods are considered to be homogenous and wages of labor perfectly flexible” (Winters, 2002, p. 1348). The second market form prevails when the supply for unskilled-labor would be perfectly elastic. If a good changes in price, the industry’s incentive to produce it will change too and with it the consumption of the technologies used within production.

The Stolper-Samuelson Theorem presents a simple and useful possibility to analyze the mechanisms of these incentives and also the respective overspills into other markets. One result was that a higher price of a good mainly produced by unskilled-labor, as would mainly be the case in agricultural production, increases unskilled-labor wages and – at the same time – decreases the income of skilled work. This is because an increase in a product’s price results in an increase in production and thus pulls production factors away from the skilled-intensive production sector.

The increase in production generates additional vacancies for unskilled people, raising the demand for that labor, increasing respective wages and thus pushing industries to employ more unskilled-labor per unit of output than skilled labor. This in turn, increases the marginal product of unskilled labor. However, what sounds theoretically logical faces various complications in the real, imperfect world. The Stolper-Samuelson Theorem cannot answer all the questions regarding trade and poverty. First, as previously mentioned, the distribution of income is often per household and not per person, e.g. due to differing intra-household distribution patterns, making it difficult to investigate the members’ levels of vulnerability. Second, if the model is confronted with two immobile factors and two goods at the same time, an analysis will be very complicated. Third, the model considers labor as a perfectly mobile factor between all sectors and regions with economic structures.

But, if these markets, sectors and regions are segmented, labor markets will be different non-interacting factors. Thus, the effects of increased demand, e.g. due to trade liberalization, on labor markets and prices is difficult to model.

However, despite these kinds of complications, the Stolper-Samuelson Theorem seems to offer plausible data for investigation and stresses some interesting facts. If the price of a good rises, the incentive to produce it increases, too. This situation, considering the increasing earnings, makes it possible to invest in highly skilled labor or special equipment. In case that there is a further surplus of output, also investments in non-specific or mobile factors could be reasonable. Then, if at least one of these mobile factors increases, another one will decrease. If there is an increase in market liberalization processes within developing countries where unskilled-labor is more abundant than skilled-labor, one can assume that open trade – if it integrates rural workers – stimulates an increase in the need for unskilled labor and generally results in higher wages among the poor.

But it is not always a given that the poorest people, and thus the people with the lowest skills, are going to be the primary workers for the production of tradable goods. In the case that trade liberalization gives jobs to moderately educated people, e.g. with primary school, the effects for unskilled workers could be even worse, again following the above mentioned effects among mobile factors. This is why it is crucial to support rural production providing employment for non- or low-skilled workers, so that the poorest part of the population can benefit from free trade markets.

Unskilled Labor as Perfectly Elastic Supply

As mentioned above, in a developing country there is supposed to be a high abundance of unskilled labor, an available factor supply which can be used to boost national economic and social development. The following figure presents a factor supply curve of the factor of production, which in this case is unskilled labor, and puts it into relation to the factor’s price. In theory and following the logic of economies, a higher factor price results in an increase in the supply factor, i.e. the higher the wage for unskilled workers, the more unskilled workers are willing to supply the respective labor.

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Figure 4 : Factor supply curve for unskilled labor in Latin America.

Source: Exemplary Illustration.

If the factor for supply were infinitely elastic, there would be an infinite supply of unskilled labor. Thus, in the case of a perfectly elastic supply, an increase in demand would not result in an increase in wages, because there already is an infinite supply for a fixed price. That means, in theory, that employers have the choice among an infinite number of unskilled workers.

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Figure 5 : Perfectly elastic supply.

Source: Exemplary Illustration.

Now, it is assumed that these infinite units of labor could be hired out at the price level of subsistence farming. This transfer in type of labor for unskilled workers only has a positive effect on poverty alleviation if the “new” wage is higher than for the previous subsistence farming. Employers who offer a minimum wage to their workers in sectors with an excess supply would probably increase the farmer’s wages and therefore positively affect the reduction of poverty. Generally, when the opening of markets increases the value of the marginal product of labor, there will be a positive effect to poverty alleviation and increase the people’s demand.

If the established mechanisms decrease the value of the marginal product and the provision of jobs, this has a negative effect on poverty. If, for example, trade liberalization, raises employment within urban areas and provokes subsistence farmers to migrate to cities, an eventual higher wage must be – within their decision-making process – balanced with a higher probability for urban unemployment and an increased vulnerability to suffer urban poverty. Here, in the worst case, the opening of trade markets leads to an increase in urban poverty rates instead of rural poverty alleviation.

Another important aspect within the effects of trade liberalization on poverty is the consideration of an international capital flow. On the one hand, if there is an inflow of capital into a sector which has been pushed through the opening of trade markets, this situation can boost wages and provide additional employment, generally increasing the people’s welfare and eventually reducing poverty rates. On the other hand, outflows of capital out of sectors with a shrinking demand can have adverse effects on benefits and poverty alleviation.

Homogenous and Differentiated Goods

In case that a good is traded or a service is offered exclusively within a country, the consumer price is only influenced by national developments in the production sector. These prices are determined to balance local markets and to influence the supply by endogenous changes in factor prices. An analysis of the production sector should investigate if goods are homogenous, i.e. whether the respective products for the consumers have the same benefit so that they do not prefer one product over the other. In this case, the buying decision normally is positively influenced by the cheapest price. Here, trade would determine the price for the good which is traded on international level as well as the domestic production.

Then, the prices for trade define the producer and the consumer price. If a good is not homogenous but differentiated, there are different prices for traded and non-traded goods and two separate demand curves are available. If there are goods with different demand curves and prices, the transmission of a trade shock is diffused to more products and thus can result in a quantitatively lower shock dimension. Generally, the assumption exists that the easier a product is substituted, the less extreme a price shock is considered to be (Winters, 2002, p. 1352). Government

Taxes and government spending is a fourth channel through which trade and poverty are interrelated, because trade liberalization is often accompanied by the establishment of regulations and restrictions in the form of customs tariffs. Generally, the opening of markets comes together with a harmonization in customs tariff rates, or is regulated by the removal of exceptions or exemptions, which regularly increase tariff revenues. In the first phases of trade liberalization, most governments are likely to reduce tariffs, to liberalize markets and decrease trade barriers. These policies cause a fall in countries’ revenues and thus have – in a lot of cases – a negative effect on the internal governmental capacities to spend on social or poverty alleviating issues. Moreover, in order to compensate financial losses, taxes may be increased for other products which also are consumed by the poor and thus a double negative effect on poverty is caused (Winter, 2002, p. 1352).

Another important consideration is whether trade liberalization binds governments to WTO commitments, which constrain governments in anti-poverty policies. Often it is assumed that “the ban on variable levies, which stabilise the domestic prices of internationally traded goods, could hurt the poor by subjecting them to greater uncertainty” (Winters, 2002, p. 1353). Moreover, the Uruguay Round Agreement on Subsidies restrains government intervention through subsidies, constraints which are in reality weak for developing countries. But in this case, a country complaining about rural subsidies given by government would have to prove that it is personally harmed. Nonetheless, an appropriate act seems to be unlikely considering that in developing countries, rural subsidies aim at integrating the poor and especially subsidies for production factors, regional development or consumption are not part of the WTO constraints (Winters, 2002, p. 1353). Risks and Vulnerability

In order to get detailed results, an analysis should measure the direct effects of trade liberalization on poverty. Respective investigations can provide data about the way trade liberalization influences the transmission of shocks and how households are able to meet high uncertainties and price fluctuations in country-specific cases. Generally, both foreign as well as domestic economies can be the central subject of external shocks, a sign that markets are not completely integrated in the mechanisms of trade liberalization. The opening of a market favors foreign exposure and therefore increases the vulnerability to domestic shocks which can negatively affect domestic welfare. Indeed, there is a relation between the level of trade and the domestic risk a country takes.

As the paper will stress within a later example regarding Mexico, a significant increase in poverty rates can be clearly related to respective price shocks by trade liberalization. Thus, a low level in trade or in trade liberalization can have positive effects on the overall domestic risk exposure. However, trade liberalization also modifies a government’s ability to cope with respective countering policies, e.g. in the establishment of price stabilization policies. The implementation of a fixed tariff, e.g. in the state of relatively stable food prices, could result in an increase in instability and thus have a contrary effect (Winters, 2002, p. 1354).

Poor farmers can suffer a more severe shock when they switch – in response to new open markets –from one crop to another, e.g. if they change from a subsistence crop to a cash crop. Instead of increasing their profits, this can favor various uncertainties and increase their vulnerability. For example, they could have difficulties in returning probable loans in the specific cases of harvest losses or price decreases. Indeed, developments such as these are especially critical for poor, regularly unskilled people, who lack profound knowledge in management, organization or in other areas of entrepreneurial activities. Respective uncertainties make it more difficult for poor people to integrate and to benefit from open markets.

Therefore, a broad approach is needed in order to integrate the poor into markets and to ensure that they benefit from free trade. The benefits of trade liberalization can be effectively disseminated by measures such as the establishment of security nets and increased efforts in spreading education and information among others. However, trade liberalization also can provoke positive effects on uncertainties through the support of international mechanisms against inflation or corruption within national borders. On the whole, “trade liberalisation has ambiguous implications for macro stability” (Winters, 2002, p. 1355), and thus success also depends on national economic and social policies and established mechanisms of protection. Technology and Economic Growth

Generally, economic growth can positively affect poverty rates. An average increase in income rates is presumed to cause a decrease in the number of poor people, because the income of a poor person increases proportionally to the overall wages; but a lot of exceptions exist (Winters, 2002, p. 1356). Trade liberalization can stimulate economic growth. However, an increased national income does not guarantee an equal distribution. But both aspects, poverty and unequal structures, have to be separately treated. An analysis of the national poverty structures and influencing channels could be followed by an investigation of how benefits generated from trade liberalization can be equally distributed within a country and integrate the poor in beneficiary markets. This depends on established tariffs and quantitative restrictions[9] (QRs), the levels of credibility and negotiability of trade barriers, among others. Additionally, domestic markets have to be efficiently integrated into newly opened markets and be accompanied by stable policy interventions in order to promote a fair competition and generate generally a state of macroeconomic stability[10] (Winters, 2002, p. 1357).

However, there is no guarantee that opening markets creates economic growth and whether it does or not, is another analysis of a considerable complexity. In case trade liberalization is followed by technical progress, new inputs, modern technologies or management techniques and are available for local producers, this can positively influence rural development. One example is the green revolution, which elaborated and distributed high numbers of improved seeds and other additional technological inputs such as irrigation systems intensifying local production and thus had a positive effect on poverty alleviation. But, these flows can be generated by trade stimulation or by direct financial flows from foreign countries, e.g. in the form of investments for research and development projects.

As explained above, an increase in production efficiency can stimulate demand and thus positively affect the factors of production. However, there is the opinion that technology in the long-term could decrease the demand for unskilled labor. This could be true in some cases, but has more relevance within the question of whether high technical development substitutes human labor (Winters, 2002, p. 1358).

Examining trade liberalization and economic growth, especially long-term effects play a key role. In the short term, a country may need a certain period of adjustment in which the internal changes are presumed to often generate negative effects for the poor, because the most considerable structural complication lies in the labor market of less skilled people. A strong increase in unemployment rates was observed in various country-specific cases, among others in Mexico. If trade liberalization in the beginning causes high poverty rates, it is important to analyze whether the generated loss of jobs is long-term unemployment or if people switch within short periods to new employments, probably with an increased income. The key aspect here is how quick unemployed people can turnover to alternative jobs after the structural changes and how flexible the factor markets react. This turnover is supposed to be quick in industrialized countries. In developing countries the situation is yet to be analyzed.

Winters stresses that the losses within adjustment processes seem to be more intensive, the more protection a sector originally enjoyed, and, obviously, the greater the shock is. In the case that a labor market suffers a shock over a long period of time, it runs the risk of becoming dysfunctional, because people may, assuming they have a job, hesitate to resign or to apply for other employments. This could lead to a stagnation of the labor market. Especially poor people regularly have a low stock of assets or do not have access to credit, which is why they are especially vulnerable to fall into poverty after losing a job. Indeed, for them it can be already difficult to cope with transitional changes, switching from one informal job to another.

Thus, in order to cope with eventually high unemployment rates, policies should focus on the poor or those who are, considering financial aspects, close to poverty. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case, and middle classes of society are more in the center of transition policies (Winter, 2002, p. 1361). However, to avoid high unemployment rates within trade liberalization adjustment periods, a country should establish cushioning regulations which very probably may prevent unemployment and help workers to immediately enter formal jobs (Winters, 2002, p. 1359).

The effects of trade liberalization on poverty rates can be very complex and reach high intensities on national poverty rates. Thus, the protection of national economies from trade shocks is a fundamental part of every anti-hunger and anti-poverty policy. Research and the generation of data may take a bit of time, but an integration of the poor into national economic and trade structures can also have significant positive effects on a country’s economic growth. The next chapter provides ten questions which directly are taken over from Winters and recommended within an analysis of the effects of trade liberalization on national inequality and poverty rates (Winters, 2002, pp. 1361 – 1363). The Effects of Trade Liberalization on Inequality and Poverty

Of course, there is no general answer to the question of whether the establishment of free trade zones or an increase in non-tariff barriers will impact the overall benefit of a nation or cause rising poverty rates (Winter, 2002, p. 1340). The effects can vary significantly between individual households as well as different countries. Thus, an analysis of the effects of trade liberalization on poverty was selected as evaluative part of the present investigation in the Brazilian and the Mexican case.

These ten questions are answered for both Brazil and Mexico in the country-specific analysis, in order to give introductory comprehensiveness about the most important identified country-specific effects of trade liberalization on Mexican and Brazilian poverty rates. The following paragraphs describe the respective questions:

1. Will the effects of changed border prices be passed through to the rest of the economy?
A shock by trade liberalization primarily is passed on to domestic welfare through prices. If a government manages regulations which prevent the transmission of price changes to the household level, direct effects on poverty (positive as well as negative) can be completely annulled. Respective strategies can include the support of local economies, the establishment of food stocks or the provision of a minimum price guarantee for local food products, and so forth. A key role plays here to prevent dependencies on food imports and on international food price fluctuations.
2. Is reform likely to destroy effective markets or create them?
If there is a shock by trade liberalization that weakens national economies, the government should be able to cope with it. Furthermore, a reform favoring job turnovers after adjustment processes or supporting rural production, or introducing new goods and services can have positive impacts on poverty.
3. Is reform likely to affect different household members differently?
As previously explained, intra-household distribution can lead to inequalities within families. If a household’s income generally increases, some especially vulnerable members, as women and children, could personally lose within the distribution of income. Thus, it is recommended to implement special reforms e.g. focusing on improving wages for women.
4. Will its spillovers be concentrated on areas/activities with relevance to the poor?
If there is an adjustment process to cope with shocks, this may be transmitted from one market to another. If there is no special focus on the poor, the diffusion may have very little impacts on protecting the poor. Thus, a defined concentration on extremely vulnerable groups of society is needed.
5. What factors are used intensively in the most affected sectors and what is their elasticity of supply?
In the case of a price change, there is an impact to the factor’s wages according to the intensities of those factors. In case that salaries decreases due to a fall in a product’s price, it depends on the intensity of the labor whether unemployment will be caused or not. If a price change positively affects wages and employment, this can have a poverty alleviating effect. However, if the factors are elastic in their supply and there is a decrease in prices and thus in wages for unskilled labor, this could cause unemployment and increase poverty.
6. Will the reform actually affect government revenue strongly?
If a government cuts tariffs, it can result in a decrease in government revenue, but generally trade liberalization negotiations generate long-term positive revenues for a country by economic growth through export markets, e.g. If not, and a trade reform negatively affects national income, this may cause an increase in taxes and/or a decrease in social government spending, and thus strengthen poverty.
7. Will reform expose the poor to greater risk?
In the case that the opening of economies may result in a high variability of prices and provoke national uncertainties and an increase in poverty, mechanisms for distributing risks can reduce negative effects to certain sectors or localities. It is necessary to analyze affected markets and provide respective support. Furthermore, it is essential that support is given equally within all sectors and among all affected groups of society, and not solely focus intensive production or high-income classes. Doing this, it can be avoided that poor people are the most exposed people to risks and especially negatively affected by trade liberalization.
8. Does the reform depend upon or affect the ability of poor people to take risk?
People living in extreme poverty can suffer significantly even from small negative shocks because they are especially vulnerable. Especially the poor need support in integration into markets by mechanisms of adjustment after trade liberalization reforms are introduced. If not, they can be confronted with high risks during job turnovers and could avoid them even though these could provide higher incomes. In this case, poor people could not benefit from the positive effects of trade liberalization by successfully entering new markets and would just be confronted with negative effects. Furthermore, in the case farmers change from subsistence to cash crops, e.g., they might be faced with a generally higher vulnerability. The reasons are that changes in production often are related to the intake of credits or the use of seeds which may not that adaptive to local climate patterns as local seeds naturally are.
9. Will the reform stimulate growth? Will the growth be particularly unequalizing?
If an economy grows due to trade liberalization, this can have a positive effect on poverty alleviation. In this case it is important to ensure an effective distribution of additionally generated income. If this is not the case, growth will strengthen income concentrations and inequality.
10. Will transitional unemployment be concentrated on the poor? Will it be deep or long-lived?
For the poor, even short periods of unemployment can have extreme effects on their vulnerability and increase poverty rates. If there are structural changes in national employment, it is important to analyze where jobs are created and where jobs are affected. If trade liberalization integrates the poor, employment turnovers should be accompanied by effective employment reforms in order to help people to access jobs with increased incomes.

However, the fight against hunger and poverty cannot be solved solely by the establishment of trade liberalization or immediately succeeded by completely avoiding the opening of markets. As it shows the vicious circle of hunger and poverty, there are a lot of influencing factors which require a well-defined multi-dimensional approach including internal structural changes and regional development. The next chapter describes essential internal influencing factors on poverty.

2.3.2 Deficits in Structure and Development as Internal Influencing Factors

Besides external influencing factors, there are various internal aspects which significantly affect poverty and hunger. On the one hand, there are structural deficits e.g. a lack in infrastructure, a lack of accessible social assistance and historical consequences of unequal land or income distributions, too low employment due to regional effects of the vicious circle of hunger and poverty or general national low economic growth. On the other hand, if a country is lacking in the support of regional development and does not provide farmers an access to credits or to general input factors for production, this presents a high vulnerability to climate change and unforeseen environmental events. This is because, then, these are other internal influencing factors to poverty and hunger.

In addition, inefficient small farmers, too low yields or losses in harvest can also affect the regional availability of food and thus increase the respective prices (Carlsen, 2008). Income and land concentration as well as social exclusion were selected as two central internal influencing factors on poverty and thus subject of the country-specific analysis presented in chapter 4.1 (Brazil) and 4.2 (Mexico).

3 Methodology

In this chapter, the methodology for the country-specific analysis of Mexico and Brazil and the evaluation of both programs Fome Zero and Oportunidades is presented. The country-specific analysis is comprised of two parts. First, the principal relevant current structures of each country are examined using three different perspectives regarding food security: the amount, the access and the diet perspective. Afterwards, for Mexico and Brazil, three main reasons for poverty and hunger will be emphasized and analyzed: First, income and land concentration, second, high food prices and food price fluctuations, and, third social exclusion. Second, the respective anti-hunger program of study is presented which, in this case, are Fome Zero and Oportunidades. Then the present paper will show which structural and specific policies were established by Fome Zero and Oportunidades in order to meet each of the three mentioned reasons for poverty. This structure will be repeated for each of the three main reasons. In the end, the first analytic part will give an overview about the main results of both programs.

The country-specific analysis has the objective to put the most relevant structures and the respective strategies of both countries next to each other in order to bring them onto a comparable base. The evaluation of both strategies will be realized by comparing the countries’ efforts while considering eight steps, which were identified to be essential within the establishment of efficient and sustainable anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs. Thus, the evaluation is based on the result of the country-specific analysis. These eight steps are:

1. Identification and coverage of the poor
2. Country-specific analysis of the internal and the external influencing factors of poverty
3. Definition of strategies for cash transfers and social assistances
4. Definition of strategies of emergency
5. Definition of structural strategies
6. Definition of exit strategies
7. Evaluation of efficiency and sustainability
8. Establishment of an effective change management

In order to evaluate both programs as strategies for improving food security, an examination of each step and an analysis of how it was realized in both countries shall help to bring the evaluation into a comparable base.

3.1 Country-Specific Analysis

3.1.1 Three Perspectives for the Analysis of Food Security and Poverty Structures

For the comparison of the relevant structures of Mexico and Brazil in the present work, a framework was selected in order to bring some of the structures of both countries and the analyzed programs onto a comparable basis and to separate the different mechanisms of Oportunidades and Fome Zero. This chapter briefly presents the methodology used for the structures’ examination.

Due to the growing confrontation with global undernourishment and hunger, in 2011, the Büro für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung beim Deutschen Bundestag[11] (TAB) published the detailed study “Possible Contributions of Research to Solve the World Food Problem — Approaches, Strategies, Implementation”. According to this study of TAB, the discussion about the world food issue is accompanied by two closely connected main perspectives: The amount perspective and the access perspective. The amount perspective focuses on the overall amount of food produced and demanded within a specific area. The access perspective considers the real access of people to produced food, i.e. the respective distribution patterns. Each of the perspectives includes different kinds of relevant aspects and strategies in order to combat hunger (Dusseldorp & Sauter, 2011, p. 39).

The amount perspective puts the total amount of produced food into a relationship with the total demand for food. This perspective is often made subject of discussion with the question of how to feed the fast growing global population in the future. Regarding this aspect, the total number of people is multiplied by their average caloric intake and so the needed total amount of food is calculated (Dusseldorp & Sauter, 2011, p. 40). In this paper, the analysis of the amount perspective will include the description of the relationship between national food availability and demand, will analyze the national production structures and give an overview of the specific structure of import and export in both countries. Furthermore, the analysis emphasizes the specific situation of the rural farmers.

The access perspective does not consider the calculated available amount, but the real accessibility of food to people. Access exists when people can supply themselves through subsistence farming or have sufficient economic resources to acquire adequate food from markets. The reality shows, that, despite a regular existing food production surplus, millions of people do not have any access to food (Dusseldorp & Sauter, 2011, p. 41). This situation prevails in Brazil and in Mexico, where enough food is available but poverty is a reason for the people’s access to food to fail.

Thus currently, the opinion predominates that the access perspective plays a more relevant role within the problem of food insecurity than the amount perspective. This is because the amount perspective is an essential, but not a sufficient condition in order to avoid hunger and undernourishment. If the produced food is not available for hungry people because it is too expensive or is being distributed unequally, the existence of food is a necessary but not a sufficient condition in the fight against hunger (Dusseldorp & Sauter, 2011, p. 7). In the present paper, the access perspective is addressed by examining the specific poverty and food insecurity structures. Additionally, an overview of the conditions of the rural poor is given.

However, in the future, due to population growth, climate change, more resource intensive consumption patterns (especially in the industrial countries) and an increased pressure to agricultural land, the amount perspective is going to play a more important role in the discussion of food security (Dusseldorp & Sauter, 2011, p. 41).

According to the amount and access perspective, food insecurity can be addressed by two main approaches. The first one refers to intensifying food production through an increase in agricultural land or/and in productivity. The second one aims at improving people’s access to food. First, by supporting subsistence farming, which can include strategies such as land distribution, improved access to input factors (seeds, fertilizer, technologies etc.) and second, an increase in income in order to be able to purchase food (Dusseldorp & Sauter, 2011, p. 41). Both Fome Zero and Oportunidades include strategies to address the amount and especially the access perspective, which are going to be presented within the analysis of the programs.

As it was shown in chapter 2.1.3, food security is not solely an issue of the amount and the access to sufficient food, but includes various additional components. Therefore, it is crucial to add a third perspective to the two mentioned before, which is the diet perspective. Chapter 2.1 included a theoretical part where a difference was made between food security and food sovereignty, and the diet perspective is reflected by the food sovereignty concept in a more comprehensive way. This is because food sovereignty gives importance to traditional methods of food production and preparation and considers the support of conventional methods of agriculture and fishing, the establishment of fair land policies within adequate ecological, social, economic and cultural circumstances (Oswald Spring, 2009, p. 5).

Also, the quality of food is not considered in a sufficient way within the amount and access perspective, which is the reason that food insecurity still does not clearly include issues such as malnutrition, overweight and obesity in a lot of cases. These conditions of food insecurity are principally caused by low quality food or products with a high content of sugar, fat, carbohydrates (Dusseldorp & Sauter, 2011, pp. 48 – 49), which are mostly contained in industrialized goods in excessive amounts.

Within the diet perspective two main issues play a central role. The first one is – beside the food quality – the combination of certain ingredients and the preparation of food. The second one emphasizes the question, why people eat food items in excessive amounts, causing and favoring overweight and obesity because of its content. This is an issue of the individual consumption behavior (Dusseldorp & Sauter, 2011, p. 49).

There are a lot of aspects which play a central role within the diet perspective, but a comprehensive analysis is beyond the scope of this paper. For the present analysis, three aspects of the diet perspective were selected which are first, a brief overview of the consumption patterns and malnutrition, second, a short introduction into the importance of organic agriculture, and, third, some information regarding the water access. Access to water is an important issue also within the access perspective, but a detailed analysis of this issue cannot be included in this paper.

These three aspects of the diet perspective can show, first, how far a country presents food insecurity regarding malnutrition, an aspect which is crucial to consider within the establishment of food security policies. Second, an overview of the development of organic agriculture presents an idea of how a country intends to use its natural resources in a sustainable way. In the end, third, access to drinking water is essential for human beings and a central aspect in the prevention of a lot of environmental and other diseases.

Then, the country-specific analysis presents an examination of the three main reasons for poverty. The first reason is considered to be income and land concentration, which plays a central, historical role in the development of national inequality both in Brazil and Mexico. High food prices and food price fluctuations were identified as a second reason for poverty, which, on the one hand, often causes a limit in the access to food due to low income, and, on the other hand, high food price fluctuations highly affect the people’s vulnerability and can cause unemployment as well as increases in poverty rates. Social exclusion will be described as a third reason for poverty, because it prevents people from the ability to participate within socio-economic systems and also includes gender and racial conflicts. In the end, the chapter presents a brief overview about the program’s main important results.

3.1.2 Addressing Poverty and Hunger

The second part of the country-specific analysis provides a background to both strategies Fome Zero and Oportunidades, describes the central institutions, the framework and the main objectives and shows how the program’s policies counteract the respective three main reasons of poverty. Here, the strategies are separated into structural and emergency policies. The last part of the country-specific analysis shows an overview of the main results of both programs.

However, the generation of an exact comparable basis for both countries is not possible. There are a lot of differences in the national social, economic and political structures. Where it is possible, the paper intends to use the same indicators, but a lot of them vary significantly. Nonetheless, similarities were found which are crucial in the establishment of anti-poverty and anti-hunger policies, and variations in some essential national structures and political mechanisms show significant difference in objectives, treatment and effectiveness.

The main differences and the effectiveness of both programs are examined in the second analytic part of the present work, the evaluation.

3.2 Evaluation: Eight Essential Steps for Strategies to Improve Food Security

The first analytic part of the present paper provides an overview of the background, the fundamental actual structures of Brazil and Mexico regarding poverty and food security as well as describes both cases by separating the country-specific strategies into efforts in order to counteract three different main reasons of poverty. A detailed description of both countries and the two programs intends to give the reader a comprehensive background of Fome Zero and Oportunidades as well as of the country-specific poverty and food security conditions.

For the respective evaluation of the effectiveness of both programs, eight fundamental steps were identified which should be included and elaborated by governments and institutions in a comprehensive way within the design, the establishment and the carrying out of a sustainable strategy to improve food security. Thus, the evaluation part will sum up the most important actions of both countries and evaluate their respective efforts within each of the respective presented step.

3.2.1 Step One: Identification and Coverage of the Poor

The availability of a comprehensive poverty profile is an essential foundation for the establishment of effective anti-hunger and anti-poverty strategies. If a country lacks a detailed poverty and hunger analysis, it neither will be able to analyze the country-specific main influences on poverty and hunger levels nor to identify the main central structural lacks. Furthermore, the design and the establishment of anti-hunger and anti-poverty policies requires detailed knowledge of the location and situation of the target group. If such information is not available, and anti-hunger or anti-poverty strategies are arbitrarily distributed, the programs probably will not integrate those in most need, i.e. the programs do not provide horizontal equity. This means that not all groups of poor people get the opportunity to become covered at once, which causes an unfair treatment of similar groups of population (Bawden, 1972, p. 812).

Furthermore, a later equalizing and adaptation progress may be very cost-intensive and need a lot of time. Moreover, as stressed by Winters (see chapter 2.3.1), the establishment of a poverty profile also provides the essential basis for an analysis of the country-specific channels (households, distribution channels, factor markets and government), by which trade liberalization can affect national poverty and hunger rates. Therefore, a comprehensive analysis of a country’s poverty profile has been identified as a first, fundamental step within the establishment of an anti-hunger and antipoverty strategy.

Moreover, food security policies should cover large parts of the poor population at once, in order to assure horizontal equity and also to take advantage from positive spillover effects of established programs. If, for example, anti-poverty programs have the objective to integrate farmers into local markets and support production by improving access to input factors, an improved economic situation of other parts of society would have the capacity to assure the consumption of these locally produced food items. If a program only accelerates production but does not focus on the demand side, spillover effects and thus the program’s effectiveness may be constrained and provoke additional costs.

This part evaluates the countries’ efforts in order to identify the most vulnerable groups of society and in order to achieve horizontal equity.

3.2.2 Step Two: Country-specific Analysis of the Internal and the External Influencing Factors to Poverty

Poverty and hunger interact and may be caused by different internal and external influencing factors (see chapter 2.3). These factors depend highly on country-specific social, economic, political and environmental structures. It is recommended to make a first separation between internal and external poverty causes, and to go forward with a respective research identifying the specific main influencing factors.

Internal Influencing Factors

As previously mentioned, internal influencing factors are endogen, i.e. arise within national borders and depend on other variables of the national economic model. A country which is highly affected by climate change[12] for example, may be confronted with a high amount of vulnerable farmers or may be exposed to significant periodical effects on national food production. High inequalities in income or land distribution can be another cause for increasing poverty rates and create social exclusion within different groups of society. Internal influencing factors can vary considerably in intensity and amount between countries and also fluctuate constantly, along with a nation’s development and specific time-related events. Thus, internal influencing factors can be very intensive but short-term (e.g. a significant loss in harvest) or cause poverty rates during many years and decades (e.g. historical land concentrations). As mentioned before, the country-specific analysis of the present work examines two main internal influencing factors to poverty, which are land and income concentration as well as social exclusion.

A comprehensive analysis of the internal influencing factors is crucial in order to identify the central structural lacks and the main causes of poverty and hunger within national borders and therefore to find out where respective mending policies have to be implemented. The country’s strategy to counteract the internal influencing factors will be evaluated on basis of the country-specific analysis, which shows Fome Zero’s and Oportunidades ’ response to income and land concentration as well as social exclusion.

External Influencing Factors

As described in chapter 2.3.1, trade liberalization is a fundamental external, exogenous influencing factor, because national poverty rates can be intensified by external national economic systems, e.g. due to internal and external interactions as is the case during imports and exports. Therefore, as observed in various country-specific case studies, trade liberalization can be a significantly intensive influencing factor to poverty. Whether it is so highly depends on different factors which have to be identified within comprehensive studies regarding the respective economic channels by which trade liberalization can affect national poverty rates. In the case of Brazil and Mexico, this country-specific analysis provides an examination of some of the most important effects of trade liberalization on national poverty rates.

Indeed, there is no general answer to the question whether the establishment of free trade zones or an increase in non-tariff barriers will impact the overall benefit of a nation or cause rising poverty rates (Winters, 2002, p. 1340). The effects can vary significantly between individual households as well as different countries. Thus, an analysis of the effects of trade liberalization on poverty was selected as evaluative part of the present investigation in the Brazilian and the Mexican case. The respective questions which were directly taken over from Winters were presented in chapter as a “checklist” of ten questions for governments or other interested researchers in order to give an orientation or a manual for respective analysis (Winters, 2002, p. 1361). This part of the evaluation briefly examines the most significant differences among Brazil and Mexico and their method in order to prevent external influencing factors on poverty.

3.2.3 Step Three: Definition of Strategies for Cash Transfers and Social Assistances

Generally, within the establishment of anti-poverty programs, it is important to consider that one invested dollar is not equivalent to an increase of the poor people’s benefits of one dollar. Indeed, the total costs for a program exceed the achieved growth in welfare, because each strategy is related to costs for administration and the program’s realization. But what is social welfare? This question is difficult to answer. Principally, social welfare is evaluated comparing the wealth status of one person with another, and in theory, social welfare “is then maximized when everyone’s income is made identical through lump sum taxes and transfers” (Bawden, 1972, p. 809). This state, of course, is neither feasible, nor desirable, among others because it would ask for the welfare function of each person in the world, and then claim for an equaled balance among them. Furthermore, each individual may define welfare completely differently. A much more adequate way to define a program of social assistance and cash transfer is to improve the living situation of the poor in an adequate manner, so that a cash transfer is justified by the achieved improvement in living conditions and based on the government’s willingness to pay for the respective changes. The establishment of a cash transfer also confronts the government with a couple of questions, which also can help in the evaluation of an adequate program. These questions are (Bawden, 1972, pp. 809 – 810):

1. How much should be transferred?

The amount of a cash transfer is country-specific and depends on the program’s objective. When implementing cash transfers aims at better food security, a good indicator would be to measure the percentage of the transfer which is spent on food by a household or family.

2. What form should the transfer take (e.g. cash, food, medical services, housing, etc.)?

Within neoclassic theory, the opinion was widespread that the most efficient transfers were cash-transfers, because they give flexibility to the recipients and enable families to decide on their own consumption. If the establishers of a program would evaluate the situation of a low-income family and conclude that their situation is better because of an increased income, the transfer of cash was good when not even better than in-kind[13] transfers. If the giver, e.g. the government, analyses the long-term consequences of a cash transfer program and families probably used the cash transfer in an “inadequate” manner, in-kind subsidies might have been more suitable (Bawden, 1972, p. 810). The real needs of the recipients might differ from the government’s perception thus leading to a use of transfers for other purposes than intended by the government. Here the intra-household distribution, as explained in chapter, comes into effect. If the transfer is in form of cash and thus increases the household’s income, it does not necessarily mean that the transfer reaches the most vulnerable family members such as children, women and elderly people. This leads to the following question (Bawden, 1972, pp. 810 – 811):

3. To whom should the transfers be made, and in what amount?

Generally, the decision on the amount of a transfer becomes more complicate when the number of recipients increases. One essential part of this decision is that both horizontal and vertical equity can be reached. Horizontal equity means that all persons living in the same circumstances are covered by the program. Vertical equity refers to the program’s consequences, i.e. it has to be avoided that a person runs the risk of ending up in worse living conditions after a cash transfer than before (Bawden, 1972, p. 812). One case could be that poor people take on risks by the intake of loans which they cannot pay back in the end. That means that cash transfer programs should aim at addressing all people living in similar poor conditions and that the beneficiaries of a respective program should receive exit strategies[14] into better living conditions.

4. From whom should the transfers be made, and in what amounts?

Generally, cash transfer programs are financed by national tax revenues. The more different givers are involved in the financing of a social assistance program, the more complicated the interrelations get, especially if the program requires structural changes. Therefore, the less institutions involved in the establishment of a cash transfer program, the easier the realization of a respective change management (Bawden, 1972, pp. 811 – 812).

5. How are answers to the above question influenced by

a) the effects of the program on the recipients?

The effects of a cash transfer program have to be monitored during the whole process of implementation and it is essential to stay flexible in order to be able to mend lacks or overcome complications in the realization and adapt the strategy. Transfer programs can have different kinds of negative externalities and generate unintended effects. Cash transfers, e.g., can reduce the people’s efforts to find work and to try to improve their living conditions independently. This can negatively impact the long-term efforts to establish well-functioning exit strategy and by this counteract the objective to make people independent from social assistance in the future, by their efficient integration into local markets (Bawden, 1972, p. 812).

b) the efficiency of administering the program?

The more efficiently the program is administrated, the more utility it will generate for both the giver and the recipient. Here, the involved time and the administrative expense required to create a fair, transparent and tangible program play a key role. Indeed, in theory almost everything is easier than it is in reality, and governments or other givers can be confronted with serious complications during the implementation of a cash transfer program. These complications can relate to uncertainties regarding the financing, to differences in interests of program givers or complications in the creation of an equal basis for the population in need. Moreover, when the program is established, it is crucial to analyze the program’s consequences and to verify if the cash transfers fulfill the intended purposes. Thus, the program should be monitored in order to prevent missing the target and to be able to mend eventually upcoming lacks. Additionally, it is important to consider that the recipients who are habitants and thus potential taxpayers, are simultaneously program givers (Bawden, 1972, p. 812). Here, a distribution of income takes place, i.e. income from higher classes of society is transferred to lower classes of society by cash transfers. This is also why it is important to consider that administrators of cash transfer programs are not always neutral. Because of being taxpayers, they are also givers and thus can find a channel in order to take some influence. Another aspect is that the more administrative institutions are involved in the establishment of a respective program, the higher is the danger to lose some transparency and control. Especially in developing countries, the establishment of poverty programs in the past sometimes favored conditions of corruption more than helping the poor (Bawden, 1972, p. 812).

These steps will be evaluated considering the respective cash transfer programs, which in the Mexican case is Oportunidades and the Brazilian case Bolsa Familia.

3.2.4 Step Four: Definition of Strategies of Emergency

As presented in the vicious circle of hunger and poverty (see chapter 2.3), there are different kinds and levels of food insecurity. The most affected people are those who already are undernourished, hungry, and those who daily suffer limitations of their ability to have a healthy and active live. Thus, the establishment of emergency strategies aims at immediately attending them to prevent further constraints and more severe health problems. People who are hungry and undernourished need help immediately and are among the most vulnerable groups of society. That is why emergency programs have to be a central part of every food security strategy. Here, the emergency strategies of both countries will be considered within the evaluation.

3.2.5 Step Five: Definition of Structural Strategies

Structural strategies have the objective of mending existing lacks in a system’s structure, such as lacks in access to social installations (e.g. educational and health institutions) or the need for other respective improvements in infrastructure. Structural strategies also can aim at equalizing deficiencies which probably developed over a long period of time in a country, causing inequalities such as high income or land concentrations, among others. High poverty and hunger rates mostly are the result of long-term deficiencies and inequalities and can be increased by additional unintended or unexpected events (such as extreme climate events, negative shocks by trade liberalization, great changes in existing structures, e.g. due to resettlements). Therefore, the definition of structural strategies in both countries was selected as step five.

3.2.6 Step Six: Definition of Exit Strategies

Strategies to improve food security that include programs aiming at poverty alleviation and at improving structural lacks should also provide well-defined exit strategies, i.e. that beneficiaries attended by respective programs for a certain period of time should, in the long-term, become capable of exiting the programs and maintaining an improved economic status independently, assuring access to food, health and educational installations.

The provision of exit strategies is essential for two reasons. First, if a program not only offers attendance but also the opportunity to independently exit poverty, the strategy has the capacity not only to improve the people’s situation because of being beneficiaries, but by helping them to help themselves to become part of social systems. When a program successfully integrates people into local economies and thus supports them to become independent in the long term, this also can be a good indicator for successful poverty alleviation. Second, if cash transfer programs, for example, attend families with children, send them to school to join basic education, the system also should provide a well-functional exit strategy, enabling the children to get access in the long term to public universities, e.g., in order to follow their studies and thus widen their professional opportunities. Respective strategies can have the objective to invest in highly skilled workers, e.g. and to integrate them as human capital into national economies. This can have a double positive effect. Poor people can exit poverty and national labor markets benefit in the long term through their investments into human resources. In the end, when food security strategies are well-defined, poverty alleviation is not only related to high social expenditures, but is a long-term investment with high economic potential for national development. This step evaluates the provision of exit strategies of both programs and proposes an integrated institution for a program-intern development and design of adequate exit strategies.

3.2.7 Step Seven: Evaluation of Efficiency and Sustainability

Obviously, the effectiveness of food security programs should be monitored and regularly improved in the case of lacks or unintended side effects. Therefore, it is crucial to generate periodically relevant data and to realize comprehensive studies for the strategies’ evaluation by governments, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) or international institutions, which are independent of respective results. The program’s evaluation should include a comprehensive report about the mechanism’s and strategies’ sustainability. This part should aim at monitoring and controlling the sustainability regarding the people’s integration into social and economic systems, but also have the objective of assuring sustainable development of the use of the natural resources: Improving and extending ecologic agriculture, protecting the environment as well as the people from an extensive use of pesticides and fertilizers, promoting the use of renewable energies and locally produced items so that environmental pollution and respective diseases mainly can be avoided.

3.2.8 Step Eight: Establishment of an Efficient Change Management

A detailed examination and proposal of an efficient change management for poverty alleviation in Mexico and Brazil is beyond of the scope of this paper. However, within the establishment of effective anti-hunger and anti-poverty strategies it is crucial to adapt to changing circumstances and to continuously improve existent policies.

4 Results

4.1 Brazil Actual State Analysis

As described in chapter 3, this part of the present work has the objective to provide information regarding the three perspectives in the country-specific case of Brazil and to describe the strategies intervention regarding the three reasons of poverty.

4.1.1 Amount Perspective Brazilian’s Food Production

For the past twenty years, the Brazilian food production shows a constant increase in most of its items. Products like soya, sugar cane and maize, which are produced within extended monocultures for food export, increased between 138% and 188%. Products which were cultivated for the internal market, such as tomato, onion, rice, wheat, beans, potato and oats increased between 42% and 91%. The manioc yield did not grow in recent decades. The stock of cattle increased significantly about 218%. The amount of pork stayed at the same level and the stock of sheep decreased 20%. The growth in cattle is the result of a significant extension in the livestock activities in the northern Brazilian regions, which still had a minor stock in 1997 and in 2009 increased to almost the same level as the Southeast, which is in second place after central east Brazil (CAISAN, 2011, p. 15).

The increase in agricultural production for most of the Brazilian cultivations and livestock was partially reached by more efficient productivity. In specific cases, especially within the production in monocultures, the increase was result of an expansion in the area of production. The area for sugar cane and maize was extended 10.8% and 3.8% per year, whereas the area for rice shrank about 7.1% per year.

In Brazil, historically exists a high concentration of land. There are high numbers of land plots up to 50 hectares which amount to 82% of the total number of agricultural establishments, but only contribute to 13% of the total area used for agriculture. In contrast, there are properties larger than 500 hectares, corresponding to 2% of the total number of establishments and occupying 56% of the total agricultural land. The production of rice, beans and manioc is realized averagely in properties of about 300 hectares; 70% of the agricultural establishments are smaller than 50 hectares. 42% of them occupy 0 to 10 hectares and only 3% are of larger extension than 2500 hectares (CAISAN, 2011, p. 16). Brazilian’s Import/Export Structure of Food

In 2011, Brazil’s value in merchandising trade was 256,039 million US-$ for merchandise exports and 236,964 million US-$ for merchandising imports. Thus, Brazil is a net export country ranking number 22 in the world market. The exported commodities can be classified into three groups: 33.8% agricultural goods, 30.1% fuels and mining products as well as 32.8% products from manufacture. The proportion of the imported commodities is 72% manufactured products, 22% fuels and mining products as well as 6% agricultural products (WTO, 2013a).

In Brazil, the basic food basket contains 15 food products which are bovine meat, pork, poultry meat, fish, rice, beans, eggs, milk, coffee, sugar, flower, bread, oil, butter, vegetables and fruits (Portal Brasil, 2013). These food items are considered to be the most essential food products for the Brazilian population. This means that people are especially vulnerable to price shocks of these items, which may be caused by trade liberalization. In this case, people could lose their access to essential food products and thus be at a higher risk to suffer food insecurity or hunger.

The origin and the purpose of the mentioned food products are described in the following table:

Table 1: Origin and purpose of the essential items of the Brazilian basic food basket.15

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten.

Source: FAO, 2013a.

Table 1 shows that in Brazil sufficient food is available in order to supply each of the country’s citizens with 3173 kilocalories per day. A closer look to Brazilian import/export structure points out that most of the domestic demand is supplied by internal production of food.

There are a few critical items within the basic food basket which are more vulnerable to price shocks than others. The Brazilian production of rice, for example, has not increased significantly in the past twelve years. This led to an increase in the price of rice within Brazilian regions other than the area of production, which is concentrated in the Brazilian South. In the period from 2005 to 2006, there was a need of an increase in imports, because national demand was exceeding supply. The international price increase of rice provoked a growth in value about 152% in exports in the period from 2007 to 2008. To counter those tendencies policies guaranteeing a minimum price for food products were established in order to find an internal balance in the case of destabilizing variations of supply and demand (CAISAN, 2011, p. 17).

Maize is not necessarily a product of the basic food basket, but is essential in considerable amounts as cattle feed, because Brazil is a main export country of meat, and meat is part of the basic food basket. The production of maize has increased in recent years, a production policy which counteracts international price fluctuations since it occurred 2007 and 2008 due to a global increase in bioethanol production (CAISAN, 2011, p. 17).

Another and probably the most critical food item is wheat, because only half of the national demand is produced in the country, principally in the Brazilian South. Therefore, Brazilian supply is dependent on international imports (CAISAN, 2011, p. 17). Wheat is consumed and processed to flour, breadcrumb coatings and mixtures for bread, among other things, in all the Brazilian regions.

Manioc is part of the Brazilian staple food. The tubers contain a high value of carbohydrates and thus provide considerable levels of energy for the Brazilian population. It is mainly consumed as tapioca, which is a pancake of manioc starch and water (Food Safety Network, 2005), and is commonly combined with coconut milk, margarine or condensed milk. It is produced principally in the northeastern regions and in the north, but harvest did not increase in the past decades. Although, together with maize, it substitutes partially the consumption of wheat. The production of fruits and vegetables mainly is realized within small rural properties; 58% of the commercialization of fruits, and 73% of the vegetables are concentrated in the Southeast (CAISAN, 2011, p. 17).

Altogether, considering the balance of demand and supply of the mainly consumed food products in Brazil, which are rice, beans, maize, soya as grain, bran, oils and wheat, it is only the production of wheat which is insufficient for the national demand. But, the internal stock of wheat, which should provide 1/12 of the overall yearly demand at every moment, is held above the minimum stocks to assure security of supply. Brazil, over a certain period of time, has observed the price tendencies of the products in the basic basket of goods and thus could identify the products with the highest price fluctuations (CAISAN, 2011, p. 17).

From 1994 to 2010, a comparison of the prices of Sao Paulo showed, that the strongest variations were within wheat, milk, French bread, beans, sugar and meat. The prices for goods like powdered coffee, butter, potato, rice, bananas and oil presented were more stable. There are two periods which show significant price increases for food, one in the year 2002 and the second one in 2007 and 2008 and in 2010. These years reflect international food crises (CAISAN, 2011, p. 17).

In past years, Brazilian agricultural production showed a significant increase and ensured a sufficient supply for inhabitants with essential food products. Therefore, the availability of food is given and is not a relevant, critical aspect in the question of food security within the amount perspective. Nonetheless, a guarantee for a sufficient production of food in the future is not given, especially in these times of regional and global climatic changes (CAISAN, 2011, p. 18). The Pan-American Organization of Health (OPAS) confirms that there is a high probability for various climatic variations in regions and locations of Brazil and that an increase in temperatures and a decrease in rainfalls can have significant effects on the yields in tropic and sub-tropic climate zones. Furthermore, an increase in sea level could cause flooding in some areas which are used for agriculture and could negatively affect potable water. Those regions of Brazil where agriculture depends highly on periodical precipitations are especially vulnerable and in those climatic disasters have direct effects on the vulnerability of farmers, e.g. who depend on subsistence farming, and where relations are close between agricultural activities, income generation and poverty (CAISAN, 2011, p. 18).

A consideration of both the import/export structure as well as the internal production patterns show that Brazil produces most of the food items which are part of the basic basket of food in a sufficient amount. As the production of fruits and vegetables mainly takes place within small rural properties, family farmers play a central role in the supply of the domestic demand. As will be explained in the next chapter and as the internal distribution of land shows, family farmers are not integrated into the Brazilian export market and thus do not benefit from profits earned by trade liberalization.

It was shown that Brazilian poverty is not caused by an insufficient amount of food. One of the main causes of poverty in Brazil is the unequal distribution of land and of income. The next chapter focuses on the group of society, where high rates of poverty are concentrated – family farmers living in rural areas. Family Farming

Family farming in Brazil is practiced by millions of families and thus is a very important starting point for establishing strategies to fight against hunger and poverty. In 2006, according to the last Agriculture/Livestock Census of the IBGE, in Brazil there were 5,175,489 establishments of agriculture or livestock. 84% of those establishments, which are 4,367,902, belonged to family farmers. 80 million hectares of land were occupied by family farmers, a 24% of the total area used for agriculture and livestock activities (Del Grossi, 2011, p. 308). Only 16% are non-family establishments, but these occupy 76% of the overall area for agriculture. As mentioned before, there are high concentrations of land, as 2% of the total number of agricultural establishments occupy 56% of the total area for agriculture.

However, family farms play an important role in the provision of rural jobs. In 2006, 12.3 million people (Del Grossi, 2011, p. 309) which is 75% of the 16.5 million workers (CAISAN, 2011, p. 16) were employed in family establishments for agricultural production. Averagely, family farming occupies more than 15 people per 100 hectares of agricultural land. Only 4.2 million people worked within non-family establishments, i.e. approximately two people per 100 hectares (Del Grossi, 2011, p. 309). Almost 70% of the workers are men, only 30% woman, a percentage which is distributed relatively equally over all Brazilian regions.

Family farmers play a key role in the supply of the internal market with food products, dominate in the national production of manioc (87%), black-eyed beans (83%), black beans (77%), goat milk (67%), pork (59%), cow milk (58%), coffee “Robusta” (55%), colored beans (54%) and poultry (50%) and are substantial in the production of maize (46%), coffee “Arabica” and rice (34%), and cattle (30%).

Table 2 : Characterization of agricultural/livestock activities establishments according to the classification of family farming.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten.

Source: Del Grossi, 2011, p.309.

In 2006, family farms contributed 38% to the gross production value and 34% to the total rural revenues. They generated R$ 677 per hectare and thus were almost twice more labor intensive than non-family establishments, which averagely produce a value of R$ 358 per hectare. They play a key role in the provision of jobs and within the overall Brazilian agricultural and livestock production of food. Family farmers therefore are essential in order to achieve national food security (Del Grossi, 2011, p. 309).

As has been shown, family farming is essential for national food production and is an important activity for millions of Brazilians. However, at the same time, it is a sector with very high poverty rates, as will be described in the examination of the Brazilian poverty structure in the following chapter. Therefore, various policies within Fome Zero were established with the objective of increasing the rural production of food, to create employment and income and thus to decrease the vulnerability of low-income farmers (Del Grossi, 2011, p. 308).

4.1.2 Access Perspective

If someone only would take into consideration the amount perspective of Brazil, one could conclude that not one Brazilian should be hungry or undernourished. The reality is different, and as in a lot of other countries, hunger is not the result of not enough food, but of an unequal distribution and a limited access to food for large parts of the society. An examination of the Brazilian poverty structure presents the prevailing conditions and shows how many people are currently affected by poverty and food insecurity. Therefore, this chapter analyses Brazilian’s poverty and food security structure, and provides a closer look at rural poverty. National Structure of Poverty

At the end of the 20th century, the Brazilian government initiated a broad analysis regarding the country’s current state of food security and engaged experts, representatives of NGOs, research institutions and social movements to collect and to investigate detailed and sound food security-related data in order to bring it together within the national Citizenship Institute [16]. A large part of the data was generated within the National Household Sample Survey (Pnad) and the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in 1999 (Da Silva, Del Grossi & De França, 2011, p. 19).

In the beginning, five main indicators were established in order to measure food insecurity. The first one measures the availability of food by taking into consideration the total supply of calories and the distribution of access to calories (Takagi, 2011, p. 166). The second one refers to food input, i.e. the physical amount of food which is available for each household. The third one provides information on the nutritional status, particularly for children, because it measures their relation of height to weight; the fourth indicator measures people’s vulnerability, taking into account things such as livelihoods and the possibility of practicing subsistence farming. Finally, the fifth one measures the people’s access to food by income or other (Takagi, 2011, p. 166). Whereas indicator one, two, three and five mainly consider nutritional aspects of food security, i.e. the amount of available calories and the physical amount of food, the nutritional status and the access to food, indicator four measures a condition of food sovereignty, which is, in this case, the possibility to practice subsistence farming.

Generally, there were two different methods in order to measure the percentage of population which suffers food insecurity. The direct method collects anthropometric[17] and survey data in order to get the total number of people and families with an insufficient caloric and protein intake (Takagi, 2011, p. 167). The indirect methodology uses data regarding the peoples’ per capita income. This is because there is the widespread assumption that a lack in income is the main reason why people have insufficient access to food and thus reflects the amount of people who live below the poverty line. Nonetheless, this data may not exactly show the total amount of people suffering hunger because people who live below the poverty line may be supported by other programs such as a distribution of food baskets or stamps or donations among others. Thus, these data needs to be partially corrected (Takagi, 2011, p. 168).

The results of the data collected by Pnad and the IBGE are shown in table 3. As mentioned before, people’s income is a useful indicator for examining a country’s poverty structure and that facilitates the comparison of two countries. In 1999, 44 million poor people lived in Brazil, i.e. 9.3 million families suffered food insecurity because of earning less than one US-$ a day.[18] This number of total poor amounts to 28% of the Brazilian population and to 22% of all the nation’s families. 9 million people or 2 million families, i.e. 20.45% of the total number, were situated in metropolitan areas. Most of the poor people, 45.45%, live in non-metropolitan areas, i.e. small or medium-sized cities in rural areas. The highest number of poor, with 20 million people or 4.3 million families, lives in non-metropolitan areas and the rural areas show the highest poverty rate, which is 46%, representing 15 million people or 3 million families.

Table 3 : Brazilian’s poverty structure in 1999 in million people/families.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten.

Source: Da Silva, Del Grossi & De França, 2011, pp. 18 – 19.

The highest concentration of poverty was registered in the Northeastern region, were 50% of the poor people lived. Although the southeast region is a more developed part of Brazil, still 11.5 million poor people or 3 million poor families lived there, amounting to 26% of the total number. Also in large metropolitan cities like São Paulo, where Brazil’s highest concentrations of wealth can be found, the number of poor people has been increasing significantly (Da Silva, Del Grossi & De França, 2011, p. 17).

The results of the study showed that the numbers of poor people living in Brazil were considerably higher and poverty in general could no longer be seen as an occasional side effect. It had to be considered as the result of a deep lack within the internal structures, of a high unbalance in the national growth model which concentrated high amounts of wealth in one part of the society, but created poverty and hunger in another one. Unemployment and underemployment in combination with rising costs for food and other expenses such as housing, health care, transportation and education, among others caused a negative spiral of growth in large areas and created poverty conditions in the midst of high income families and concentrations of wealth (Da Silva, Del Grossi & De França, 2011, p. 17).

The described study by Pnad and the IBGE was published in 1999. In 2010, a further study was conducted by the IBGE, which presents the following result: In 2010, 16.27 million Brazilians still lived in conditions of extreme poverty, amounting to 8.5% of the Brazilian population. Of those, 4.8 million have no income at all and 11.4 million have a median per capita income between R$ 1 and R$ 70. 46.7% of people living in extremely poor conditions live in rural areas. At the same time, only 15.65% of the total population still lives in rural areas. Approximately ¼ of the rural population is poor and most of them or 59% of the overall number, live in the North and in the Northeast. 56.4% of the rural poor live in the North, in the Northeast 52.5%. In urban areas, most people living in extreme poverty are women; in the rural areas, most of them are male. 71% of the extreme poor are black or colored. Only 26% of the poorest population is white (CAISAN, 2011, p. 18). 40% of the overall 818 million indigenous people live in conditions of extreme poverty. Half of the people living in extreme poverty is under the age of 19. 39.9% of the extreme poor are children younger than 14 years. In the Southeast, 12.8% of the poorest people are over 60 years old (CAISAN, 2011, p. 19).

In the years 2002 – 2003, the total expense for food of the overall society averagely amounted to 20.6% of the families’ total consumption. This number shrank until 2008/2009 to 19.8%. Among others, this is the result of the increase in the overall middle income, the increase in the consumption of other goods and services as well as generally lower prices in comparison with the inflation rate. The Research Institute of Family Budget (POF) provided data to the proportion of food expenses to the overall income of families who earn above the average income and who find themselves between the first and the fourth quintile of the total income. In 2008 – 2009, the first quintile, which refers to the group of population with the lowest income, spent an average of 29.8% of their total expenses on food. The fifth quintile is the part of society with the highest rent and spends far less on food than the average Brazilian, which is 15.2% of their total income[19]. Also the population’s custom to eat outside of the house, i.e. in restaurants and similar installations, has increased. The first and the second quintile still are below of the Brazilian average, and spend 5% and 5.6% in restaurants, the fourth and the fifth quintile 6.5% and 6.3%. This indicator also presents one reason for a general higher consumption of industrialized food, which often is rich in fat, sodium and sugar. This is an important aspect within studies about food security (CAISAN, 2002, p. 19).

This chapter showed that the Brazilian poverty rate decreased significantly from 44 million people in 1999 to 16.27 million people in 2010. As mentioned in chapter 2.3, poverty and hunger are interacting and sometimes difficult to differentiate. Therefore, the next chapter presents a closer look to the country’s condition of food insecurity in the last decade.


[1] “Zero hunger” (author’s note).

[2] “Opportunities” (author’s note).

[3] “Zero Hambre“ (nota de la autora).

[4] „Kein Hunger“ (Bemerkung der Autorin)

[5] „Möglichkeiten“ (Bemerkung der Autorin)

[6] A top-down approach refers to projects which are realized while considering a primary, overarching objective more than specifically prevailing conditions. By contrast, a bottom-up approach refers to a plan which is drawn up while primarily taking into account specific conditions (uni-protokolle, 2013). Here, the first objective of a top-down approach is it to achieve food security for large parts of societies, whereas a bottom-up approach develops a food security plan considering the prevailing living conditions and traditions of local communities, e.g.

[7] Factor markets are those markets in which the selling and buying of the production factors are realized, e.g. the capital- or the labor market (Economic Glossary, 2008).

[8] A quantity effect is, e.g., in case that a price increases, this causes that lower units of this product are sold. This situation result generally in lower revenues. Furthermore, an increase in the price of a good can lead to an increase in the price of other products, if it is central ingredient of another product, e.g. (Yale Department of Economics, n.y., p. 1)

[9] A quantitative restriction in trade regularly is placed on the amount of a good or of a provided service, which can be imported into a country. The objective is to protect the price of domestically produced items and/or to balance trade deficits or trade quota (BusinessDictionary, 2013).

[10] Policies for a macroeconomic stability include all strategies to achieve a macroeconomic balance with a high employment rate and a stable price level, i.e. all political strategies which influence the economic development (Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon, n.y.).

[11] The Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB) is an independent scientific institution. It is in charge of advising the German Bundestag and its committees on matters which are related to research and technology (TAB, 2013).

[12] The present paper considers climate change as an internal influencing factor, because the relevant effects take place within national borders. Of course, climate change also can be result of external events and also cause food price fluctuations due to climate disasters in other countries causing harvest losses, for example.

[13] In-kind subsidies are material subsidies ≠ cash transfers (author’s note).

[14] An “exit strategy is a way of ‘cashing out’ an investment” (Investopedia, 2013). In this case it means to provide beneficiaries of cash transfer programs the opportunity to become independent of transfers by becoming successfully integrated into social and economic systems.

[15] This calculation refers to a total population in 2009 of 193,247 people (FAO, 2013a).

[16] The Citizenship Institute has its origin in the so called Parallel Government established by Lula da Silva in 1989. From 1999 to 2002, the institute was in charge of extensive issue-oriented projects dedicated to comprehensive analysis and the development of proposals for public policy. During Lula’s presidency from 2002 to 2010, the institute worked on special issues, projects, debates and seminars, in collaboration with other institutions and was responsible for the monitoring of various governmental policies and projects, among them the project Fome Zero (Instituto Lula, 2012).

[17] Anthropometrics are measurements which refer to the physical dimensions and properties of a human body (Medical dictionary, 2013).

[18] One US-$ a day is the worldwide poverty line which has been adopted from the World Bank (Da Silva, Del Grossi & De França, 2011, p. 17).

[19] Of course, there are other factors which influence the comparison of the amount spend on food of different quintiles such as the very probable fact that high-income classes buy more expensive food items or higher amounts of food products (author’s note).


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Cologne University of Applied Sciences – The present paper evaluates the two approaches Fome Zero and Oportunidades of Brazil and Mexico as strategies to improve food security. The analysis shows that various significant differences but also similarities exist in the structures of both countries
evaluation brazilian fome zero mexican oportunidades anti-hunger programs strategies improve food security




Title: Evaluation of the Brazilian Fome Zero and the Mexican Oportunidades Anti-hunger Programs as Strategies to Improve Food Security