Food security and climate change in peru

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  • Publicado : 18 de mayo de 2011
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This paper will expound about the current state of affairs of food security in Peru and how Climate Change may be a threat in the short term, especially for rural farmers.

“According to research carried out by the Tyndall Centre of Climate Change in the UK, Peru is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change” (Andersen, Suxo, & Verner, 2009, pág. 2). But how wouldclimate change affect food security in Peru, especially for rural groups? Which would be the most vulnerable groups in the face of this situation? To what extent is there adequate current information to respond to the possible issues to come? These are some of the questions on which I will reflect in this essay.

In 2008, on the World Food Day (October 16th), the Peruvian Government issued theDeclaracion de Lima (Declaration of Lima) which points out “the urgency to implement mechanisms to facilitate the social and economic development of the country guaranteeing the future of food in a framework of equity and fight against poverty, although considering the sustainable use of natural resources, the adaptation to climate change and the protection of the national ecosystems” (Agroboletín,2008. P. 2-3) (the highlighting is mine). However, even when this declaration is full of good intentions –as all of them are, it does not necessarily reflect the current policies and actions taken in Peru.

Situation of Food Security in Peru: Rural Agriculture

Currently the population in Peru is approximately 28.8 million persons. According to the Minister of Agriculture (Ministerio deAgricultura Del Peru, 2010), in the year 2006 the participation of the agriculture sector in the national GDP was 8.3%. Nevertheless, 31.6% of the population (8.1 million persons approximately) obtained their livelihoods from this activity. Moreover, during the same period 31.2% (approximately 2.8 million persons) of the Economically Active Population (EAP) worked in agriculture activities. In addition tothat, agriculture in Peru contributes 62.8% of the national supply of food.

Given the above and considering in addition that only 34% of the farming lands are irrigated, whereas the other 66% depends directly on rain, we can conclude that agriculture in Peru is highly vulnerable in the face of Climate Change.

According to the figures of the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica e Informatica(National Institute for Statistics and Information) corresponding to the year 2008, poverty decreased in one year from 39.3% to 36.2% of the population (Diario El Comercio, 2009). The fact that Peru has reached a certain sustained level of economic growth during the last years might lead us to think that malnutrition is an overcome situation.

On the contrary, the levels of undernourishedpopulations continue to be a serious problem. One out of five children in Peru does not consume the minimum necessary to satisfy his or her basic needs for growing (chronic malnutrition). In rural areas the figure is one out of three children. When it comes to families with caloric deficiencies, the number is 31% of the total, and worse again in rural areas than urban areas (La Revista Agraria, 2009). Inaddition to that, the percentage of families with caloric deficiency was 31% in 2008, which meant an increase of 2% since the year 2005.

The contrast in this apparent contradiction between the economic growth and the persistent high levels of malnutrition in the country seems to be based on the different conditions between rural and urban areas. The improvement of conditions, when it reallyhappened, occurred in the urban rather than in the rural areas. This distinction allows us to acknowledge that the roots of malnutrition (higher in rural areas) are in the demand capacity of impoverished rather than in the supply of food.

Considering that there is an important dependence on imports to provide food for part of the population (37.2% of the total supply of food is imported), the...
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