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ARGENTINA | 04-07-2024 17:43

Quilmes university makes 'super soup' to highlight need for food aid

President Javier Milei's government is again being criticised for withholding food from soup kitchens.

The Universidad Nacional de Quilmes in Argentina has begun the production of thousands of portions of a highly nutritious “super soup” to be distributed in soup kitchens.

The move is designed to draw attention to the hundreds of soup kitchens that say they have stopped receiving of food from the national government.

“The 'super soup' is aimed primarily at soup kitchens and school canteens. The idea is for people in need to be able to have this meal of high nutritious quality,” stated Alfredo Alonso, the chancellor of the state university, in a radio interview.

The initiative comes as the government of ultra-liberal President Javier Milei comes under fire for grudgingly giving food to community soup kitchens while their funding and functions are audited.

Argentina's population, half of which lives in poverty, is in the grip of a deep economic crisis with inflation running at more than 270 percent per annum.

“The ‘super soup’ was developed by Food Engineering students after the social outbreak in 2001 which left Argentina in political turmoil and the worst economic crisis in its history.

The goal is to “recover big production because the need of neighbourhood soup kitchens is increasingly pressing,” said Alonso, who heads the university on the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires which has some 34,000 students.

This meal “has meat, rice, peas, carrots and potatoes. It is produced in four-litre tins. Each of them has enough for 50 rations," he specified. 

More than 150 tins have already been produced, which translates as 7,800 portions of this soup which “has a very high nutritious value” and can be stored for up to two years.

Human Capital Minister Sandra Pettovello was caught in the eye of the storm back in May when it was revealed that her portfolio was hoarding tonnes of food. She appealed a court order which demanded its distribution. She also declined twice to attend Congress to provide an explanation. 

As with the rest of higher education centres, the Universidad de Quilmes has had its budget frozen this year, without any adjustment for inflation.

Argentina is going through a major economic recession with rising unemployment and poverty. In Buenos Aires City alone, the nation's richest area, the extreme poverty rate climbed to 16 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2023.

 

– TIMES/AFP

 

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