The northern province of Chaco was the first region where the national government's initiative was launched.
Argentinian Alberto Fernandez's administration began its 'Anti-Hunger' program Monday in the northern and poor-stricken province of Chacho with the allocation of 66,499 food cards to low-income families.
"The plan seeks to guarantee the right to eat well but, also, it is a great source of employment and promotion for those who produce food in the country," said Minister of Social Development Daniel Arroyo, who signed the agreement for the implementation of the plan with Governor of Chaco Jorge Capitanich.
Capitanich assured that "the people of Chaco, today stand up to fight against hunger in every corner of our territory," and specified that the food cards will be distributed starting Jan. 20.
"We want the money that enters the province as a result of a direct social transfer to remain here, in a local network of suppliers and entrepreneurs of the popular economy, so that it has a multiplier effect that allows us to guarantee more income to more families," he explained.
Together with Daniel Arroyo, we signed an agreement for the National Integral Plan Argentina Against Hunger and a cooperation framework agreement to promote the development and training of workers in the popular economy.
The food cards are issued by the New Bank of Chaco S.A. and will be given to parents with children of up to six-years-old, who receive the Universal Allowance per Child (AUH), to pregnant women from three months, who receive the Pregnancy Allowance; and people with disabilities who receive the AUH.
The card will be automatically credited on the third Friday of each month with a fixed monthly amount of 4,000 to 6,000 pesos (US$70 to US$100) to purchase all varieties of food, except alcoholic beverages. Besides, on one day of the month, beneficiaries will have access to special discounts of up to 30 percent.
The program, the Minister explained, aims to tackle three social problems that have deepened over the past four years: hunger and malnutrition, family over-indebtedness, and lack of employment.
"So let's start with the basics: in Argentina, everyone has to eat well, there can't be hunger in a country that produces food," Arroyo added.
The plan aims to reactivate local consumption and production. Bank credit will play a key role, providing machinery and supplies and preparing local entrepreneurs and producers to the demand that will be generated.
"There are more than 66,000 families from Chaco that will have funds to buy from local suppliers and generate an economic movement in the province. Argentina is being rebuilt from below, from each town," the government official concluded.
Around 15 million people are suffering from food insecurity in Argentina, according to the latest figures. This comes as the economy has been in crisis ever since former President Mauricio Macri signed a multibillion-dollar IMF deal, the country has since experienced runaway inflation of over 50 percent, unemployment, and negative growth.