University of São Paulo: USP researchers will debate public policies to fight hunger


One of the most serious consequences of the covid-19 pandemic is hunger. In Brazil, it is estimated that this problem affects at least 19 million people and that 55% of households have some aspect of food insecurity. Assistance actions are urgently needed, but it is necessary to think about effective public policies to combat the situation in the long term. For this reason, USP’s Dean of Culture and University Extension (PRCEU), with support from the Institute for Advanced Studies (IEA), also from USP, will promote this Wednesday, the 12th, from 9 am to 1 pm, symposium Public Policies to Combat Hunger . The meeting is free and open to all interested parties, with transmission via Youtube .

The debate will bring together researchers working on the subject to exchange experiences and present ongoing projects in the areas of public health, sustainable agriculture, food engineering, environmental engineering and social sciences. The objective is to contribute to the elaboration of effective and lasting actions in the fight against malnutrition and hunger in the country. The initiative is related to the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations (UN) and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to USP’s dean of Culture and University Extension, professor Maria Aparecida de Andrade Moreira Machado, the event is a way for USP to position itself in the face of the situation that the country is experiencing due to the pandemic. With unemployment on the rise, one of the most serious consequences is precisely hunger. “Among sanitary and health issues, this is a very big social challenge. It is not just a social aspect, but above all humanitarian ”, he says. The symposium will bring, according to her, several studies that promote policies or that could help public managers to establish policies that can be applied in order to fight hunger. “Let’s go together and really think about what we, as Uspians and as citizens, can do to fight hunger in our society.”


Maria Aparecida de Andrade Moreira Machado – Photo: Marcos Santos / USP Images
“Among the sanitary and health issues, fighting hunger is a very big social challenge. It is not just a social aspect, but above all a humanitarian one. ”

Maria Aparecida de Andrade Moreira Machado
The teacher comments that the issues to be discussed at the symposium are interconnected. An important discussion, according to her, is the coming of people from the countryside to the cities, causing overcrowding and problems inherent to this situation. She gives as an example communities where 10 to 15 people live in a space of 15 meters, which should not happen, especially in a pandemic situation. “It is necessary to stimulate family culture, especially in the countryside”, he points out. Another issue to be addressed at the event is sustainability, including the generation of waste, whether organic or non-organic. “It is necessary to think not only about environmental sustainability, but also about the people who make a living from recycling.”

The issue of hunger is a crucial problem, not only in Brazil
For the deputy dean of Culture and University Extension, professor Margarida Maria Krohling Kunsch, coordinator of the symposium, the proposal is to bring this problem to the great national debate. According to her, the issue of hunger is a crucial problem not only in Brazil, but in other underdeveloped countries. “We know that a large portion of the population lives in extreme poverty, with nothing to eat”, he says. And he continues: “This is a very commented question and, in part, assisted by leaders of civil society and social movements, in order to solve the immediate problem of hunger, in an assistentialist perspective”. The symposium promoted by USP, informs the coordinator, has as main objective to bring together great specialists from different units and areas of knowledge who are working with the theme and, from the debates,


Margarida Maria Krohling Kunsch – Photo: Personal archive
“The USP symposium has as main objective to bring together great specialists from different units and areas of knowledge who are working with the theme of fighting hunger and, from the debates, contribute to the establishment of public policies.”

Margarida Maria Krohling Kunsch
The symposium will consist of two panels. The first, at 9:30 am, Agricultural Productivity, Food Security, Malnutrition and Public Policies for Social Inclusion, will have the participation of three researchers: Maria Elisa de Paula Eduardo Garavello, from USP’s Luiz de Queiroz School of Agriculture (Esalq), in Piracicaba, who has studies in traditional or local communities (quilombolas, riverside dwellers, settlers and indigenous societies) , with an emphasis on food security and sovereignty, sustainability and autonomy; Tereza Campello, economist and visiting professor at the School of Public Health at USP, first holder of the Josué de Castro Chair on Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems at FSP and Minister for Social Development between 2011 and 2016, with extensive experience in programs to combat hunger and the poor; andMaria Sylvia Macchione Saes, from USP’s Faculty of Economics, Administration and Accounting (FEA), coordinator of the Research Center at the USP Center for Organization Studies (Cors), with studies on biodiversity-based production chains to generate jobs and income in the Amazonas and São Paulo states and on organic food. The mediator and debater will be Professor Eduardo Cesar Leão Marques, professor at the Department of Political Sciences at the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences (FFLCH) at USP and director of the Center for Metropolitan Studies (CEM).

In the second panel, at 11:15 am, the subject discussed will be The Scream of Hunger: Alternatives to Public Policies for Sustainable Food . Among the participants is Maria Gasalla, professor at USP’s Oceanographic Institute and collaborator at USP’s Institute of Advanced Studies (IEA), with experience in the area of fisheries sciences and oceanography, and member of the group of fisheries experts of the Ecosystem Management Commission in various task forces linked to the UN, participating in international and local initiatives. “The Brazilian coast is huge, but it is faced with the lack of public policies to optimize this segment of food, which, even, is being a solution for many people who live from fishing”, as Professor Margarida recalls.

Another guest of this panel is Professor Reinaldo Pacheco da Costa, from the Production Engineering Department of the Polytechnic School of USP, coordinator of the USP Incubator Program for Popular Cooperatives (ITCP) of PRCEU, who has been developing works focused on social inclusion and the economy supportive.

The panel’s third guest is Professor Thais Mauad, from the Department of Pathology at USP’s School of Medicine, coordinator of the IEA’s Group of Studies in Urban Agriculture, who studies the impacts generated by urban agriculture and has a reference work on vegetable gardens urban areas, “a possible way to think about the great metropolises and peripheries”, in the words of the coordinator. The mediation will be made by professor Elisabete Maria Macedo Viegas, director of the Faculty of Zootechnics and Food Engineering (FZEA) at USP, who has experience in the area of aquaculture and fishing resources, working on the themes of nutrition and feeding freshwater fish, processing post-fishing, fish conservation and utilization of processing residues, among others.

According to Professor Margarida, the fight against hunger “is an issue that does not end in these two panels, but the symposium is an initiative of USP in this direction, to contribute with all its areas of knowledge, since the University has a role to be fulfilled with society ”. With the event, “we want to bring to light not only the debate, but also to stimulate and encourage our students so that they can replicate these initiatives”, concludes the dean Maria Aparecida.

The official opening of the meeting, at 9 am, will be attended by USP’s rector, professor Vahan Agopyan, and vice-rector Antonio Carlos Hernandes, in addition to the four pro-rectors of the University, of Culture and University Extension, of Graduation, of Graduate and Research.

The symposium on Public Policies to Combat Hunger will take place this Wednesday, the 12th, from 9 am to 1 pm, through the YouTube channel of the Dean of Culture and University Extension at USP . The meeting is free, online and open to all interested parties. A certificate will be issued to those previously registered who register their participation during the transmission. Registration available at this link . More information is available on the event website

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