The Minister of Economy, Planning and Development, Pável Isa Contreras, explained that the implementation of the School Feeding Program (PAE) executed by the National Institute of Student Welfare (Inabie) alone reduced monetary poverty in the country by 2 percentage points.
He noted that had this social policy not been implemented, monetary poverty in the Dominican Republic would have been much higher than the 27.7% recorded last year.
To support such statement, he referred to the Monetary Poverty Study 2022, which for the first time included as per capita household income the receipt of Dominican Government assistance through monetary transfers and the School Feeding Program, which resulted in more than 456,000 people no longer being in monetary poverty in 2022.
Isa Contreras, who was a speaker at the conference “Impact of the School Feeding Program in the reduction of poverty”, held this Friday, explained that the benefits of the referred social policy are much greater, in view of the fact that the measurement does not include collateral economic movements, such as the extensive purchases of local agricultural products made by suppliers.
Monetary poverty is the proportion of households whose income does not allow them to cover the minimum cost of goods and services necessary to feed themselves and cover other needs.
In order to have better social policies to reduce monetary poverty, the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development together with other State institutions has developed a new methodology that explains more clearly the existing reality in the country.
He added that poverty would increase by 4.3 percentage points if the PAE and the monetary transfers provided by the Government to the neediest were eliminated, that is, the poverty rate would increase from 27.7% to 32%.
During the conference, Victor Castro, executive director of Inabie, emphasized that the PAE is the most far-reaching social policy in the country because it currently impacts an enrollment of more than two million beneficiaries.
“If poverty decreased by four points in 2022 due to school feeding and other social programs, we predict that by the end of 2023 it will continue to decrease because we have expanded the number of beneficiaries in the PAE. We are no longer only distributing food to students in the extended and half-teacher classes. This year we have included the students of Prepara and those of the Oportunidad 14-24 program, and we are committed to continue impacting the country with this initiative by disposition of our president Luis Abinader”, expressed Castro.
He explained that the distribution of the PAE represents a daily savings for more than 700,000 families, because their children are guaranteed quality food with all the nutritional components they need for their development.
Investment in the School Feeding Program
Isa Contreras presented a table on the participation of the PAE in public spending in the period 2007-2022, in which he explained that in 2007 the investment in this program was 2,439 million pesos and from that date to 2012 the difference in investment was minimal until 2013.
In contrast to this, the most recent state investment was more than 24 billion pesos in the PAE in 2022, which reflects the commitment of the current government to continue improving the quality of life of students and their families.