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FAO "State of Food and Agriculture” SOFA 2015 report - Social protection and agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty

The FAO argues in its latest version of the State of Food and Agriculture report SOFA that expanding social protection offers a faster track to ending hunger, when combined with broader agricultural and rural development measures. It argues that the vast majority of rural poor remain uncovered by social protection (only about a third of the world's poorest people are covered by any form of social protection).  Thus, expanding social protection programmes – including cash transfers, school feeding and public works - in rural areas and linking them to inclusive agricultural growth policies would rapidly reduce the number of poor people.

"Social protection programs allow households to access more food -- often by increasing what they grow themselves -and also make their diets more diverse and healthier. These programs can have positive impacts on infant and maternal nutrition, reduce child labour and raise school attendance, all of which increase productivity” says FAO’s Director General José Graziano da Silva.

The report dismisses as a myth the view, sometimes put forward, that social protection reduces people's work effort. Rather, recipients often respond to social protection positively, such as by improving the nutrition and education of their children, relying more on home production rather than poorly paid wage work and by increasing their participation in existing networks such as funeral societies, a common form of risk management in many traditional communities.

Read the full report here and see a further FAO summary here.

See previous FAO SOFA reports from 2013, 2010, 2008.

You will find more related information in the research library categories on food security and nutrition, hunger, development/poverty, food and agriculture policy as well as consumption and production trends.

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