Zero Hunger Program in Social Policy Belik-Del Grossi.Pdf

Topics: Poverty, Household income in the United States, Cycle of poverty Pages: 42 (10429 words) Published: February 27, 2013
Brazil’s Zero Hunger Program in the Context of
Social Policy1

Walter Belik2
Mauro Del Grossi3


This paper was prepared for the 25th International Conference of Agricultural Economists in Durban, South Africa, August 2003. The authors wish to thank for the comments of Benjamin Davis and the helpful revision of Gisele Noce and Caitlin Houston .

Assistant Professor at the Instituto de Economia and Coordinator of Núcleo de Economia Agrícola at the State University of Campinas - Unicamp ( 3
Director of Monitory and Evaluation in the Ministry of Food Security and Hunger Prevention in Brazil (


The article analyzes the possibilities of implementation of a social policy dedicated to Food Security in Brazil. It presents the main proposals taken for the Brazilian ZHP Program Hunger Zero tracing some parallel between its design and the Mexican PROGRESA - Oportunidades. We utilized a hybrid profile for the ZHP, considering the selection of possible beneficiaries at that time by combining characteristics of a universal program regarding the right to adequate food guarantee with geographic targeting. Finally, the article presents some elements of analysis for the structural policies, which are being implemented, showing the effort of the ZHP in order to promote changes in the life conditions for those benefited families.

Keywords: Food Security, Social Policy, Poverty.


The goal of this work is to discuss the methodology established for the Zero Hunger Program (ZHP) of Lula’s government, presenting its positions regarding the interplay between social policy and the its measures for fighting hunger. The text begins with a challenge to present a program that intends to provide attention to a citizen’s universal right, which is the right to adequate food. Simultaneously, the program seeks to apply “targeting” techniques to identify the largest in-need population, in order to achieve that aim.

The work is divided into three parts, followed by a conclusion. In the first section, we discuss the characteristics of a social program for combating hunger in a country similar to Brazil, where almost one-third of the population is in a vulnerable situation concerning malnutrition. Next, we present the main characteristics of ZHP, adopted as a governmental priority beginning in 2003. In this section, we compare parts of the ZHP to the Programa Oportunidades (ex-PROGRESA) adopted in Mexico in 1997 to utilize as a social program model. Finally, in the text’s third section, we present some justifications explaining the options adopted by the ZHP. In the last section in particular, we are working specifically with data from IBGE’s Demographic Census of 2002, in order to demonstrate some characteristics of poverty in Brazil and its connection to differing regions.


“Social Policies” are, by definition, necessary concerning society’s normal functions. They arise in order to compensate for the distortions resulting from the capitalist development process, which creates an ever-widening gap between rich and poor people. Families in a capitalist society do not begin with equal conditions, and the poorest families tend to continuously reproduce the cycle of poverty: low educational levels, poor nourishment and health, job impermanence and low income. By creating social policies, the State seeks to equalize the opportunities between poor and rich people, closing the gap between these two groups and allowing the next generations to take a step forward, breaking the poverty cycle.

On the other hand, many social policies must fit the requirement of responding to constitutionally-established universal rights. Through tax collection, the State collects funds with the intention of ensuring society’s well-being. Diverging priorities require these public funds. The government faces the always-difficult...

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