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  • Men working in stocked soybean in Sorriso, Brazil on Sep. 27, 2012.

    Men working in stocked soybean in Sorriso, Brazil on Sep. 27, 2012. | Photo: Reuters FILE

Published 23 November 2018
Opinion

Despite the fact that only 18 percent of the Latin American population lives in rural areas, poverty affects now 59 million rural inhabitants, of which 27 million suffer extreme poverty.

During the "Week of Agriculture and Food," held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) presented the first edition of the Panorama of Rural Poverty in the Latin American region.

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The landmark research points out that rural poverty in the region had fallen from 65 percent in 1990 to 46 percent in 2014. However, between 2014 and 2016, both poverty and extreme poverty increased by two percentage points each, reaching 48.6 percent and 22.5 percent, respectively.

Latin America previously endured a similar setback due to the 2008 international financial crisis.

"We cannot tolerate that 1 of every 2 rural inhabitants is poor, and 1 in 5, indigent. Worse still, we have suffered a historical reversal, a break in the trend that makes it clear that we are leaving our rural areas behind," Julio Berdegue, FAO's regional representative, explained.

Despite the fact that only 18 percent of the Latin American population lives in rural areas, poverty affects now 59 million rural inhabitants, of which 27 million suffer extreme poverty.

This trend towards impoverishment of rural households coincides with government changes in the region. Prior to administration change in several of the region's countries, positive trends had been noted in rural welfare.

The FAO report recalls that Brazil's rural poverty rate fell to 29 percent in 2014 from 71 percent in 1990; Bolivia's fell to 54 percent in 2013 from 79 percent in 1997; and Chile's fell to 7 percent from 39 percent in the same time frame. Meanwhile, from 2000 to 2015, Ecuador reduced rural poverty rate to 27 percent from 66 percent; and Paraguay to 51 percent from 70 percent. 

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