This Wednesday (22) the federal government relaunched the Food Acquisition Program (PAA). The new format, recreated from the Provisional Measure, will focus on expanding production from indigenous peoples, quilombolas, agrarian reform settlers, blacks and women.
In a ceremony in Recife, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said that the relaunch of the program is an important step towards improving the quality of Brazilian food and the income of those who live in the countryside. “These people have to eat three times a day, these people have to work. We don’t just want to eat three times a day, we want to dress well, we want to study well, we want to have a car, we want to have a refrigerator, we want to travel, everything that we are capable of producing. If we made it, we have the right to have it. That’s why we have to fight, because no one is going to give it to us for free”, he said to the audience gathered in a gym in the capital of Pernambuco.
The Minister of Agrarian Development and Family Agriculture, Paulo Teixeira, stated that the program will have a budget of R$ 500 million. According to him, federal agencies will be instructed to buy at least 30% of food from family farmers. “We are going to advance a lot to get Brazil out of hunger”, he said.
Minister Wellington Dias, of Development and Social Assistance, Family and Fight against Hunger, highlighted that the priority of the PAA is to allocate “money for the production of food” that will go to Brazilians who “go hungry”.
Through the program, the federal government buys products from family farming, without the need for bidding, and distributes them to institutions that serve socially vulnerable groups, popular restaurants, community kitchens, food banks, hospitals and prisons. Purchases are made by states and municipalities or by the National Supply Campaign (Conab) with federal funds.
The national leader of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), Jaime Amorim, defended the resumption of public food stocks in the country, which can be used, for example, to contain the soaring prices. “A country that does not have a food supply does not have sovereignty, it will always depend on large corporations,” he said.
Created in 2003, the PAA was part of the Fome Zero strategy, which aimed to help reduce food and nutrition insecurity by strengthening family farming and the local economy. In 2021, the program changed its name and became known as Programa Alimenta Brasil.
What has changed in the PAA
In the new version of the PAA, there was an increase in the individual quota that family farmers can sell to the program, which went from R$ 12,000 to R$ 15,000. The quota is valid for the Simultaneous Donation, Inventory Formation and Direct Purchase modalities. Access can be done directly or through cooperatives and associations.
The minimum participation of women was also increased, from 40% to 50%, according to the Ministry of Social Development
Another novelty is the resumption of the presence of civil society representatives in the program’s Management Group.
The National Council for Sustainable Rural Development (Condraf) was reinstated and the Program for the Productive and Economic Organization of Rural Women was created.
Since 2003, the PAA has disbursed more than R$8 billion to purchase food from 500,000 family farmers. On average, 15 thousand entities are assisted per year.
At the event, the government announced measures in other areas, such as health, cities and science and technology.
The Minister of Health, Nísia Trindade, informed that a national strategy for the elimination of cervical cancer in the country was created. The pilot project will be carried out in Pernambuco and expanded, as of the second half of the year, to the entire country. There will be inclusion of a molecular test for the detection of HPV, the sexually transmitted virus that causes the disease, in the Unified Health System (SUS). The test is national and was developed by Fiocruz.
Resources were earmarked for works to contain slopes in Recife. The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and the state government have signed a partnership to monitor rainfall on the northeastern coast, as well as to issue flood warnings and risk of landslides in the metropolitan region of the capital of Pernambuco.
The National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) and United Nations organizations will develop actions to adapt small farmers in the Northeast to climate change. According to the bank’s socio-environmental director, Tereza Campelo, R$ 1 billion will be allocated to 250,000 farmers in the Northeast. The bill will be forwarded to the Senate.
An agreement between the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture and state universities provides for the inclusion of artisanal fish in meals offered by university restaurants and training courses for artisanal fishermen.
The event was attended by the governor of Pernambuco, Raquel Lyra, and the mayor of Recife, João Campos, who were booed by the public.
When speaking, Raquel Lyra stated that the most diverse opinions must be respected and that she will work to combat hunger in the state together with the federal government. “We are going to face hunger, not with boos, but with a lot of work”.
President Lula spoke out about the boos. “When you were booing the governor, you were booing me. She is not here because she wants to be, because she was invited by us. The governor may be our political opponent, but she is the governor of the state, she was elected and I will respect her as governor of the state. When I’m the owner of the house, they can boo me all they want, but respect my guests who came here, ”he said.