September 23, 2020

The Argentine Parliament extends the food emergency in the face of the crisis

The Parliament of Argentina approved this Wednesday to extend the emergency food law for three years, an initiative demanded by various social organizations in the face of the worsening economic crisis in the country.

The opposition-driven project, which had already been approved last week by the Chamber of Deputies, today unanimously received the approval of the Senate.

The initiative, which in both Houses was debated in special sessions, without prior discussion in commissions before the urgency of the matter, establishes the extension of the food emergency law enacted in 2002, after the serious crisis of 2001, and whose last extension was extended It expired next December.

This Wednesday's session in the Senate was preceded by a mobilization at the gates of Congress of thousands of members of social organizations demanding the approval of the norm in the face of the upsurge of the economic crisis.

Protests in the streets of these organizations have grown since August, when inflation accelerated and the recession deepened amid severe financial turmoil unleashed after the primary elections.

Since then, consumption collapsed, the influx to social canteens grew and "popular pots" in the streets were installed as an image of the claim to alleviate the crisis.

"Hunger has already settled in Argentina," said Peronist Senator Beatriz Mirkin, who, like the rest of the opposition legislators, seriously questioned the government's economic policies.

The norm approved today promotes the creation of the National Food and Nutrition Program and establishes an increase of at least 50% in this year's budget items for public food and nutrition policies.

This increase will imply an additional fiscal cost of 10,000 million pesos this year (about 172 million dollars), according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.

Likewise, it empowers the head of the Cabinet of Ministers to arrange changes in the budget items and to update them in order to allocate funds to food policies.

"This law is palliative, it does not solve anything of substance. It is a law that will not solve the painful problem we have in Argentina. Beyond who governs, the only solution is to make Argentina grow," said Peronist Senator Carlos Hamlet.

The opposition legislator said "there is anguish," particularly in social canteens that depend on state aid to get food.

According to the latest official data available, corresponding to the first quarter of this year, poverty reached 34.1% of the population and 7.9% of Argentines were below the indigence line, that is, no He came to cover his basic feeding needs.

However, due to rising inflation and the rising cost of the basic food basket – which, according to official data released today, registered an interannual increase of 58.8% in August -, the current poverty rate is expected to be higher, around 40%, several opposition senators said Wednesday.

Senator María Magdalena Odarda, of the opposition Progressive Front, warned that poverty affects children more intensely, with 10% of children "starving", one in three children eating in a school canteen and one of every two that are below the poverty line.

"We are a country capable of feeding 400 million people and we cannot solve how to feed 15 million people," said Odarda, who wondered "how can it be that a child lies down with an empty belly or that his parents stop eating to feed that child. "

Although the Macri government initially rejected the initiative by claiming that social needs are already being met, finally the president, who aspires to re-election next October, supported that his coalition legislators were "available" to accompany .

The official senator Luis Naidenoff said that poverty in Argentina is a "structural" problem that challenges all political, social and economic sectors.

. (tagsToTranslate) Argentine Parliament (t) (t) extends (t) food emergency (t)

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