President Jair Bolsonaro has described reports of serious hunger in Brazil as & # 39; a big lie & # 39; and claims that it is not a problem for the country.
"Talking about starving in Brazil is a big lie," he said on Friday morning while having breakfast with foreign reporters.
He admitted that in some cases it can "go bad" and that people "cannot eat well".
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But hunger is not a problem for Brazil, he added. "You don't see poor people on the street with skeletal body functions like you can see in some other countries around the world."
Brazil was removed from the UN hunger card in 2004 and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that less than 2.5 percent of Brazilians have been malnourished in the past three years.
According to FAO data published in September 2018, fewer than 5.2 million people were malnourished in 2017 – a significant improvement over the figure of 20.9 million in 1999.
But the figure comes from "less than 5.1 million" in 2014.
Brazil is now balancing on the verge of a new recession after the country experienced the worst economic recession in its history in 2015-16 and the increasing poverty has caused those concerned to feel that severe hunger could increase further.
Government data suggest that 54.8 million Brazilians are poor, about 26.5 percent of the population, and according to the Institute of Statistics and Poverty, 9 million Brazilians younger than 14 live in extreme poverty.
FAO says that around 22 million Brazilians were obese in 2017.
Mr Bolsonaro went back to his statements when he was asked later by the same day by other journalists.
"Look, Brazilians eat poorly. Some are hungry," he acknowledged. "Now in a country as rich as ours, with arable land, plenty of water, that is unacceptable."
During the discussion with the reporters on Friday, Mr Bolsonaro also seemed to complain about the international press that would misrepresent his administration and external pressure to influence the policy with regard to the Amazon.
"The Amazon is ours, not yours," he told foreign correspondents.
He also questioned the official Brazilian data on deforestation rates and claimed that "If all the deforestation data of recent years were true, the Amazon would not exist."
Data from the government's satellite monitoring agency indicated that the Brazilian Amazon lost 739 square kilometers in June in just one month.
Additional reporting by Associated Press
. (tagsToTranslate) Jair Bolsonaro (t) Brazil (t) malnutrition (t) Hunger (t) America (t) World (t) News