As food prices soar, soup kitchens are struggling to feed some of the Andean nation’s poorest and most vulnerable residents in the hilly slums of Lima in Peru. Chicken is no longer on the menu as proteins are being cut, reports Reuters.
As much of the world deals with high inflation triggered by the Ukraine crisis, the slums in Peru are hard hit. The war’s impact on fertilizer supplies has also directly affected food costs.
“The rise in prices is huge,” said Jenifer Mondalgo, president of the soup kitchen association in the Pamplona Alta slum, adding that chicken is now inaccessible. “For us as soup kitchens, chicken has ceased to exist.”
Reuters reports that Mondalgo said they have resorted to pleading at the market for free bones, skins or other remnants so that they can serve at least some animal protein.
For years, soup kitchens offered lunch at 1 sol (27 cents), but now community leaders have been forced to charge 1.5 soles (40 cents).
Peru’s inflation is at its highest in a quarter of a century, adds Reuters, with price hikes disproportionately affecting food, triggering nationwide protests. On 12 April, Peru’s congress approved legislation that waives taxes for what it deems as essential foods.
The measure, which will last 8 months, is estimated to cost some 3.8 billion soles (US$1 billion) in lost revenue and applies to bread, chicken, sugar and pasta, according to the text of the law. Reports note that the final list of items was significantly scaled back following objections from the government that the congress was trying to exempt items, such as beef, that were not truly essential.
Peru has also raised the minimum wage by 10% to 1,025 soles (US$274.76) and offered vouchers to subsidize cooking gas for the most vulnerable.