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Sistemas Alimentares e COVID-19: atualizações Maio 2021

We continue to monitor the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on food systems. Below is our selection of updates from the last two months.

COVID-19 & Fome.

According to Bloomberg News, global famine reached its apex after a year of the coronavirus pandemic's impact on workers' wages.

In Brazil, research published by Datafolha last month points out that one in four Brazilians declared that the amount of food on the table to feed the family was less than the ideal minimum.

In the state of Mato Grosso, local income transfer actions are helping to reduce social inequality and consequently food insecurity.

Data from "Renda Básica que Queremos" movement points out that in addition to cuts in the amount transferred to families (from R$600 to R$1200 to the R$150 to R$375 range), more than 29 million people were excluded from the new emergency aid, compared to the number of beneficiaries of the first distribution.

COVID-19 & Alimentação escolar.

In relation to PL 2.392/2020 (which proposes to edit the National School Feeding Program to include ultra-processed foods and remove the priority of purchases from traditional communities) that we addressed in the last publication on the impacts of the pandemic, the project was approved by Deputy Chamber and it can still be reviewed by the Federal Senate. Bodies that declared themselves against the bill: Education Commission, National Education Development Fund (FNDE/MEC), Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAPA), Civil House, and Federal Public Ministry.

The Brazilian Human Rights Platform - Dhesca Brasil published the report“Violações ao direito à alimentação escolar na pandemia de Covid-19: casos do estado do Rio de Janeiro e do município de Remanso (Bahia)”. The report brings reports of non-compliance with the current law that governs the PNAE, in addition to recommendations to the government.

The Attorney General's Office's Youtube channel published the animation “Alimentação escolar para povos e comunidades tradicionais”, illustrating good practices for applying the PNAE to indigenous schools.

In the United States, the progressive party wants to turn school meals free for all, replacing the current program that only subsidizes part of the meals (sold at reduced prices), in addition to increasing the financial support for schools that buy food from small local producers.

COVID-19 e Padrões de consumo.

According to the United Nations, food prices increased by 4.8% globally in the last month, reaching the highest price since 2011. The increase was mainly generated by the increase in the price of vegetable oils, sugar, and cereals.

The study“Efeitos da pandemia na alimentação e na situação da segurança alimentar no Brasil”, part of the series of publications “Food for Justice”, carried out by the University of Berlin in partnership with the UFMG, UNB and BPAD, found that the food whose consumption grew the most during the pandemic was eggs. The increase in consumption was 18.8% and, according to the researchers, was mainly caused by the replacement of meat, whose consumption dropped 44%.

About meat consumption, specialist heard by Folha de São Paulo pointed out that its consumption should remain low at least until 2022, due to several factors such as lower purchasing power of the population; increased imports by China (largest buyer, where purchasing power is on the rise); increased export of agricultural commodities that are the basis of animal feed; and lack of calves on the market.

Still, on the export of agricultural commodities, worldwide consumption of sugar, coffee, and oranges are threatened by the water crisis that hit Brazil.

COVID-19 & Obesidade.

Brazil faces a blackout of data on health and chronic diseases. The last official survey of chronic diseases by telephone survey (Vigitel) was released in 2019. Not only the survey of 2020 is stopped since last May 2020, and it has no date to be completed. The 2021 survey also has no start date.

Without technical-scientific data, it is not possible to measure the occurrence of non-communicable chronic diseases (such as obesity, overweight, hypertension, and diabetes, most of which are related to poor diet) and there is no way to support public policies.

Based on the “NutriScore”, the French nutrition labeling system, Nestlé (one of the supporters of this labeling system) circulated an internal report stating that 60% of their products have the lowest score possible of the scoring system, being considered unhealthy.

What we eat changes the world.



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