Food insecurity, which continues to rise in Honduras, is another pandemic that the new government, led by Xiomara Castro, will have to face as of January 27, 2022. This is what analysts and the office of the World Food Program of the United Nations Organization (WFP) warn.
“In the food area we have a serious problem, a wave of famine is coming that is sweeping the planet, which has already begun,” said analyst Omar Andrés García Calderón in Tegucigalpa, who believes that food insecurity is being affected due to the “urbanization of the country and the loss of being able to invest in agricultural products”.
He added that dealing with the problem in a country where “we need people to be able to bring food to their homes” will be another of the important issues that the Castro administration, winner of the general elections on November 28, will have to face.
The peasants’ problems will be raised by their leaders at a meeting scheduled for today with Xiomara Castro’s Transition Commission, who has promised many changes to improve the living conditions of the poorest.
A very high agrarian blackberry
Honduras, with an area of 112 thousand 492 square kilometers and 9.5 million inhabitants, faces, not just now, serious problems in terms of food security due to the lack of sufficient land for the peasants, many of whom farm to survive, although they do not always manage to harvest due to the effects of natural phenomena, which have worsened with climate change.
One of the regions most affected by these phenomena is the so-called “Dry Corridor”, which covers part of the east, south, center and west of the country.
In these areas there are cycles in which the production of grains such as corn, beans and sorghum is lost due to a severe drought or torrential rains that drag down even infrastructure works, as happened in November 2020, with the passage of tropical storms ” Eta” and “Iota”, whose damage continues to have repercussions.
García Calderón pointed out that Honduras suffers the consequences of the delivery of “land to foreign people – alluding to the installation of the so-called Employment and Development Zones (Zede) -, but land is not given to people from here.”
“The country has a very high agrarian arrears and too much idle land, and a very idle population because they don’t have land,” the analyst stressed.
In the last 50 years, Honduras has suffered drastic changes in terms of agricultural production, such as allocating thousands of hectares to African palm, mainly in the north of the country, to the detriment of the cultivation of corn and beans, which are staples in the diet. of the Hondurans.
On October 16, World Food Day, the WFP office in Tegucigalpa indicated that the food insecurity situation in Honduras has almost doubled from 1.8 million prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and hurricanes “Eta” and “Iota”, from 2020, to 3.3 million today.
In addition, the same source pointed out that the food insecurity that affects 3.3 million, of the 9.5 million Hondurans, could “increase to 4.4 million at the end of 2021.”
The situation is precarious for a country that is also suffering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that began to spread in March 2020, which has so far left more than 10,400 dead and around 379,000 infections. Added to this is the new threat of the omicron variant, which is already in the country, according to medical sources.
Peasants fear that agricultural production is insufficient. EFE/Amador
Land, roof, tortilla, work and transparency
Leaders of peasant organizations also advocate that the new government that will take office in 2022 turn its gaze to the countryside, and also put an end to the confrontation that persists in some sectors of the country between peasants and landowners, another long-standing internal problem that has even left dozens of dead farmers.
In the opinion of analyst García Calderón, many of the economic and social problems Honduras faces can be resolved by guaranteeing the people “land, shelter, tortillas, work and transparency,” something in which the country also has a high deficit and They do not ignore who will be the Government during the 2022-2026 period.
If what García Calderón recommends were applied to alleviate the country’s problems, perhaps the majority of rural people would not seek the cities, in which many peasants have not found the well-being they deserve, starting with a job.
García Calderón emphasized that with regard to work, many should be opened, but “with decent wages so that people can get out of poverty and take off from the middle class.”
“If we are going to have poor people selling charamuscas (ice cream in small plastic bags), 30 years will pass and those people will continue to sell charamuscas. That is not correct, it is detestable, we must give him the opportunities with respect to life, ”added the analyst.
3.3 million of the 9.5 million Hondurans are threatened by food insecurity; could “increase to 4.4 million at the end of 2021”