EL ESPECTADOR, January 31, 2022
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
Colombia’s Vice President and Foreign Minister, Marta Lucía Ramírez, asked for a rectification and acknowledgement by the FAO of the Colombian government’s public policies.
By means of a diplomatic note, the government of Colombia formally requested the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture (FAO) to remove Colombia from its map of countries with food insecurity due to a lack of “real support, methodological definition, clarity of sources that provide validity and credibility” in the report it issued recently.
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In the document entitled “Critical points of hunger, early alerts of food insecurity”, the FAO identified Colombia as one of the critical points on the planet where hunger is already at alarming levels, and where the crisis is expected to worsen in 2022. According to the United Nations agency, it’s probable that food insecurity in Colombia will deteriorate because of political instability, economic challenges, and the impact of the regional migration crisis and the new internal displacements.
“Frankly, it’s curious that our country should appear in this report related to problems of acute food insecurity, in clear contrast to its silence with regard to other countries in the region where the precariousness of their institutions is sufficiently known, as well as their lack of stimulus by private investment in food industries, and the lack of transparency in their statistics. Curiously, none of those countries appear to be identified in this report,” claimed Colombia’s Vice President and Foreign Minister, Marta Lucía Ramírez, who signed the diplomatic note in the name of the Colombian government.
With that declaration, Ramírez maintained her dissatisfaction with the absence of Venezuela in the FAO report. The Organization pointed out very clearly that not only Venezuela but also North Korea were left out of the critical points of food insecurity due to the lack of current data from those countries.
The diplomatic note sent by Colombia not only requests a rectification by the FAO, but also that it recognize “the public policies and actions taken to guarantee not just agricultural productivity but also the purchasing power of the citizens even in the difficult times provoked by the global pandemic and the crisis of the Venezuelan immigrants.
“10.3 million homes and 30 million people have been aided by monetary transfers from the national government, through programs like Families in Action, Colombia Mayor (Colombia’s Seniors), Young People in Action, IVA Refunds, and Solidarity Income. This last has served 3 million homes and, beginning in March of 2022 will be serving 4 million. The funds that have been invested in these programs so far in the current administration amount to 30.3 billónes of pesos (roughly USD $7,640,308,620),” Colombia’s Vice President and Foreign Minister emphasized in the diplomatic note.
Ramírez said that the government of Colombia would continue to work “in this way with the international community and, especially, with the United Nations and its respective agencies.”
The FAO, on the other hand, suggested emergency preventive actions such as furnishing food and veterinary services so that farm animals could survive, technical assistance and supplies for agricultural production (seed and fertilizer), and economic subsidies for vulnerable populations, and support for Venezuelan migrants and rural communities through the rehabilitation of potable water systems and establishment of areas for rapid food production.
The FAO also reported that the delays in implementation of the Peace Agreements between the government and the armed groups, and the unemployment statistics, which for October of 2021 stood at 11%, had had an effect on food problems in this country.