How Brazil can help Pakistan

Published: November 23, 2012
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The writer is the Brazilian ambassador to Pakistan

The writer is the Brazilian ambassador to Pakistan

For many years, Brazil lived the paradox of being a nation with extraordinary agricultural resources and yet, with millions facing hunger and malnutrition. For that reason, the Brazilian government implemented the Zero Hunger Programme in 2003, thanks to which 40 million Brazilians were taken out of poverty in the last decade. Today, more than 55 per cent of the Brazilian population is part of the middle class.

The integrated actions of all different Brazilian authorities involved with the implementation of the Zero Hunger Programme allowed a planned and articulated policy aimed at assuring access to the production and consumption of healthy food. It has enhanced income, created jobs and improved educational conditions, school attendance, health conditions, municipal infrastructure, access to basic sanitation and drinking water. We are aware, however, that there is still plenty to be done, not only in Brazil but also worldwide.

It makes me extremely proud to see the “zero hunger” battle cry transformed into a global endeavour and it is reason of great joy to have Pakistan as a partner to fight this battle together. The launching last March of the Zero Hunger Action Plan by the Pakistani government shows well that Brazil and Pakistan can, indeed, work together on this issue.

In the first week of December, six Brazilian experts on food security and poverty alleviation will come to Islamabad to share with Pakistanis the successful experiences of the Brazilian programmes in these two major subjects. There will be a one-day seminar followed by two-day bilateral meetings. This groundbreaking initiative will pave the way for Pakistan and Brazil to identify areas of cooperation, inaugurating another important chapter in the global effort against hunger and poverty, as well as strengthening the old and friendly relations between the two countries and peoples.

It is important, nevertheless, to keep in mind some essential questions. Brazil cannot separate food security from agricultural trade issues, as international trade plays a decisive part in the matter. It is widely accepted that the biggest obstacle to a food secure world is not the production of food but the distribution and distortive market mechanisms, such as protectionist policies and subsidies adopted by many developed countries.

Another important issue is the necessity of support to what is known in Brazil as family agriculture, or smallholder farmers. In Brazil, 70 per cent of all the food consumed comes from this kind of producer and that should be emphasised on a global scale. By giving support and strengthening the generation of income for families in rural areas, we are automatically guaranteeing their nutrition security and boosting rural production as multi-cropping is a common feature of those properties.

It is also important to highlight the necessity to increase and improve agriculture productivity. In Brazil, thanks to agricultural research institutions, we were able to multiply the production of food without expanding the use of lands and damaging the environment. This is also an important tool against climate change and ecological imbalance.

The issues indicated above must be addressed combined with the implementation of domestic policies. International cooperation, multilateral activism and the development of well-structured social protection policies are the formula to face this massive challenge. In bilateral terms, the Pakistan-Brazil Seminar on Food Security and Poverty Alleviation is an important step taken by Brazil and Pakistan to work together in this regard.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (19)

  • roadkashehzada
    Nov 23, 2012 - 11:16PM

    welcome to Pakistan. Honorable Ambassador and the delegation

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  • jahandad
    Nov 24, 2012 - 12:19AM

    we wish you continue your efforts for this noble cause,,yes pakistan must learn from brazils progress in agriculture and many other fronts as well,,we hope you enjoy the warm welcome of people and government of pakistan,,,food security and its proper distribution is what makes a nation a harmonious society,,,,and brings progress ,,,

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  • Falcon
    Nov 24, 2012 - 12:28AM

    Alfredo-
    Welcome to Pakistan. As a Pakistani, I am interested in two aspects of the story, which if you could shed some light on the future op-eds would be helpful. Firstly, how did Brazil achieve equalization of agricultural inputs? (ex: financial credit, fertilizer, tractors, water, land) since that has been a challenge on our end. Secondly, what political hurdles did you guys face and how did you overcome it?

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  • Nov 24, 2012 - 2:22AM

    What a great man – welcome Alfredo Leoni

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  • RAW is WAR
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:36AM

    Brazil is not the right country to emulate in agriculture. They have second biggest land mass (after Russia) with half of Pakistan’s population. They still snatch away lands from indigenous people (attrocities, of course) to increase the landmass under agriculture. Amazon is the fastest disappearing eco system in the world today.

    Pakistan should really use Israel’s help in agriculture if it has to benefit.

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  • Raveendra Swarna
    Nov 24, 2012 - 6:04AM

    Excellent information, both countries are developing, need to cooperate in many areas, industrial sector productivity has to be increase, Pakistan needs to export industrial productions to other developing countries, the trades share has to be held up to these countries. I think Pakistan should join hands with India in trade and peace so that both countries can get benefit in many area. India is improving in Tertiary sector productivity, India can extend cooperation in agriculture research and productivity improvement with Pakistan.

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  • aisah azeeem
    Nov 24, 2012 - 9:52AM

    Honestly speaking Pakistan needs to help itself..

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  • Mirza
    Nov 24, 2012 - 10:14AM

    Like Pakistan Brazil and Argentina had a long history or army rule. However, they have strengthened their civilian institutions and their countries are making tremendous progress. In fact the ABC countries (Arg, Bra, Chile) are an example of progress in all spheres of the economy. In addition Brazil does not have oil but they have no problem with that. They are producing alcohol from sugar cane which is 5 times more efficient than from corn.
    Having said that both these countries have given up on their nuclear programs and their resources are devoted for the welfare of general public and poverty alleviation not maintaining a huge army. Pakistan cannot make any economic progress unless they put their money where their mouth is. All the ABC countries are secular democracies and making progress now war.

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  • Pak-Samba
    Nov 24, 2012 - 10:27AM

    Few thing if I may suggest Hon. Alfredo Leoni:

    Development – Energy Sector:
    Brasil’s 37-year-old ethanol fuel technology and experience can help Pakistan with production of ethanol fuel from sugarcane. Pakistan needs to emulate Brasil;s biotechnology in the agricultural sector to improve its sugarcane production

    People to people cultural exchange – Sports:
    Brasil can also help Pakistan with their sports. Pakistanis are crazy about football. They can learn from Brasil football experiences. Brazilian Football Confederation body can help Pakistan in this regard

    People to people cultural exchange – Fashion/Entertainment:
    Pakistan Fashion Council should present their show in Sao Paulo and Rio de Jenero with Pakistan’s best fashion designers. Brasil can do the same.

    We can also exchange our TV serial dramas. As I know, that Brasil is already emulating Indian like TV serial in Brasil which is a a big hit.

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  • usman
    Nov 24, 2012 - 10:31AM

    Great. We should help each other for better world” a world free of hunger’

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  • Ali Ashfaq
    Nov 24, 2012 - 4:06PM

    We need active people in the Govt. So many countries are ready to help our People but we need to look for such opportunities that can help improve life standards. Such a good news this is.

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  • Khawar Butt
    Nov 24, 2012 - 4:43PM

    Thanks, Mr. Ambassador. A friend in need is a friend indeed.

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  • Zaheer
    Nov 24, 2012 - 5:56PM

    I want to see Brazil-Pakistan cooperation in every sector.

    Both countries have enough things in common to help each other, most importantly in economy. Mr Ambassador, keep up your efforts to bridge this gap.

    I would love to visit Brazil in near future, i am sure there are many Pakistanis and Brazilian who want to know each other.

    Please, Mr Ambassador also plan some cultural exchange and tourism programs.

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  • Cautious
    Nov 24, 2012 - 9:05PM

    Brazil is a great role model for Pakistan — you might note that they have good relations with their neighbors which allows them to focus/fix domestic issues rather than wasting money on nukes, missiles, and expensive toys for their military.

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  • Optimist
    Nov 24, 2012 - 9:29PM

    We need friends like you Mr Ambassador

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  • SV
    Nov 25, 2012 - 10:09PM

    It was nice to read this all. Thanks.

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  • zubair
    Nov 26, 2012 - 3:41PM

    please help us solve the energy situation like you have in Brazil…Agricultural fuel…

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  • Zen
    Nov 27, 2012 - 10:53AM

    @Pak-Samba: He is talking about Food Security and Poverty reduction, not trade, commerce and other ways of integration.

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  • cut
    Nov 27, 2012 - 12:08PM

    Pakistan has lot of talent.No need for Brazilian expertise.If you are interested in giving aids,then only we are interested in your so called expertise.

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