Brazil and Cuba Share Their Experiences in Social Programmes
Published on 6 June 2014

At the opening of the workshop, the presiding table was represented by (right to left) director of WFP’s Center of Excellence Against Hunger,  WFP representative to Cuba,  Brazilian Ambassador to Cuba, and the Director of International Organizations for the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment (MINCEX)

The link between social programmes and family agriculture as a tool for development brought together experts and representatives of the governments of Brazil and Cuba with the support of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Cuba. This encounter has special significance against the backdrop of the celebration of the International Year of Family Farming.

HAVANA. -The Brazilian delegation comprised of representatives from the Ministry of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger, the Ministry of Agricultural Development, Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Business, the Social Service of Industry, as well as WFP’s Centre of Excellence Against Hunger and the Federation of Family Agriculture (FETRAF). Also participating in the workshop were national counterparts and cooperation actors.

When inaugurating the encounter, Maria de la Luz B'Hamel , director of International Organizations for the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment ( MINCEX ) thanked WFP for its initiative to promote this exchange of ideas during the International Year of Family Farming in matters of such significance as food, nutrition, and family farming . "We are confident that all participants in our respective institutions came out stronger and more knowledgeable about these issues than before," she said.

“No one Should Remain Vulnerable,”

She noted that Cuba has been on a period of transformation of their economic model since 2011 " with the commitment that no one should remain unprotected, “ and continued to say that "the right to food is a priority because of the threats it poses to national security and because it remains the cornerstone of social policy.”

The MINCEX official noted that “we are currently in the last stages of the development phase of WFP’s Cuba project for the 2015-2018 period, in which impact activities will be implemented for the entire population, children in particular. Which means that the results of the exchange carried out in this workshop will, without a doubt, contribute to the emergence of new initiatives in the implementation of the programme”. B'Hamel also emphasized her support for future actions that strengthen south-south cooperation.

Food Security, Priority for the Brazilian Cooperation

Likewise, the Brazilian ambassador in Havana, Cesario Melantonio Neto, highlighted that food security was a priority for Brazilian coCesario Melantonio Neto speaking for WFPoperation.
The diplomat acknowledged and thanked the people who attended the event, including the representatives of various institutions of government and the Federation of Family Farming in Brazil. "It is in our best interest that they attend because they are linked directly to the issues of school meals and family agriculture.” He also stressed that the workshop “will contribute to the renewal of the Cuban economic model in the field of food security to ensure universal access to quality nutrition.”
Also present was Daniel Balaban, director of the WFP Centre of Excellence Against Hunger, who reiterated that “the purpose of the workshop is to share experiences of both Brazil and Cuba.” "I think for both countries to grow the best way is through cooperation, because we both have the same problems and we are both looking for the solutions," he pointed out.

During the encounter, the Brazilian government shared the programmes that they have been developing over the last few years in the fight against hunger and poverty- including school meals and buying products from smallholder famers.

Zero Hunger

Brazil has been recognized for its successful Zero Hunger Programme, the strategy used to reduce poverty and food insecurity, and the school meals programme that reaches more than 45 million students annually.

Balaban said that “a quarter of Brazil's population is being fed, “through these programs that are implemented by the national government and the state governments. “Much of this food production comes mainly from smallholder farmers to develop their production and boost local economies in the country. They are very important for the development of the country’s communities," he said.

Laura Melo, representative of the World Food Programme in Havana, said that the workshop is a space of confirmation and commitment to support the Government of Laura Melo sharing ideasCuba during this important adjustment period of its economic model and most of all to support food and nutrition security.

“Our role as WFP is, when possible, to support this process by fostering knowledge exchange and sharing experiences so that these new ideas can be concrete and become actions that benefit the food and nutritional security of this country and that all the achievements that Cuba has had, from the social point of view, remain. "
While in Cuba, the Brazilian delegation visited various institutions of public health and education in the Pinar del Rio province. They learned about the established mechanisms of local food production to feed children in school and pregnant women in the maternity homes in the municipality of La Palma. They also met with representatives of these institutions and the Ministries of Internal Trade, Agriculture, Economy, and Planning.