LISBON — Portugal, with its $27,885 GDP per capita income, is not a country that most people think of when discussing world hunger. In fact, the prevalence of undernourishment in Portugal is only seen throughout 5 percent of the population, so it would appear to most that hunger in Portugal is not a big issue.
However, Portugal has only recently overcome trying economic times. Between the years of 2000 and 2012, Portugal’s per capita income grew less than the United States did in the midst of the great depression or Japan during its “lost age.”
In Portugal, the GDP has remained much lower than the rest of the European Union, and in 2008 Portugal faced a debt crisis, causing the nation to ask for assistance from the European Union in 2011. The European Union gave Portugal a bailout as long as they could get their deficit down to 3 percent. In 2014, the country left the agreement after it felt satisfied with its level of growth and budget deficit reduction.
Portugal has since seen 13 consecutive quarters of growth, and the budget hit a 40-year record low of 2.1 — lower than the limit that the European Union put in place. Despite the great economic success Portugal currently experiences, it may be short-lived as Portugal does not export many goods.
The lack of exportation makes Portugal susceptible to reverting back to poverty, which could cause hunger rates to rise as a consequence. Organizations like Re-Food work to help prevent the hunger in Portugal from returning and becoming a problem.
The Re-Food program is a program geared towards reducing waste and ending hunger in Portugal. The organization collaborates with local restaurant or grocery stores to obtain any leftover prepared foods that would otherwise be thrown away, and then serves them to hungry citizens at little to no cost. By this measure, even the 5 percent of Portugal’s population who are undernourished are taken care of.
If Portugal does go into another economic downturn, then sources like Re-Food will be there to help aid hunger in Portugal.
– Téa Franco