Nicaragua’s Zero Hunger Programme

Nicaragua’s Zero Hunger Programme was inaugurated in May 2007 with a five year budget of US$18.58 million. The principal element of the programme is the provision of a US$2,000 ‘productive food bond’ given as part of the Productive Food Programme (PPA). The bond is made up of a breed cow and pig, hens and a rooster, seeds, corral materials and training. “The idea is to provide the family table with meat, milk, eggs and fruit, eradicating hunger and malnutrition.”[i] Families in some locations such as Raití rejected the cows asking for short-haired sheep instead; they also requested help with the cultivation of cacao rather than basic grains.

The bonds are issued mainly to women heads of households. As Paul Kester outlines, the beneficiaries must satisfy various criteria:

Need – the family must be in a state of extreme poverty suffering at least two of the five basic unmet needs (overcrowding, inadequate housing, insufficient services, low education levels and economic dependence).
Capacity – the family must have a plot of 0.7 to 1.5 hectares available for the animals and plants.
Commitment – the beneficiaries must pledge to participate in training workshops, not sell the animals issued to them, organise into ‘nuclei’ and save-contribute the equivalent of 20 per cent of the bond’s value to create a rural revolving fund for the development of their community.[ii]

Other elements of the programme include mother-and-child health, food for education and food for training for 225,000 beneficiaries.

[i] Revista Envío (May 2007) ‘Nicaragua Briefs – Zero Hunger’, Revista Envío, No. 310.
[ii] Paul Kester (January 2010) ‘Nicaragua: Zero Hunger: Development or Just Raindrops?’, Revista Envío, No. 342.