Social protection and agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty
This edition of FAO‘s “The State of Food and Agriculture 2015″ (PDF) makes the case that social protection measures will help break the cycle of rural poverty and vulnerability, when combined with broader agricultural and rural development measures. The report finds that in poor countries, social protection schemes – such as cash transfers, school feeding and public works – offer an economical way to provide vulnerable people with opportunities to move out of extreme poverty and hunger and to improve their children’s health, education and life chances. The report stresses that the notion that social protection reduces people’s work effort is a myth. Rather, recipients often respond to social protection positively, including improving the nutrition and education of their children, relying more on home production rather than poorly paid wage work and also increasing their participation in existing networks such as funeral societies, a common form of risk management in many traditional communities. Still, the report stresses how social protection alone cannot sustainably eradicate hunger and rural poverty. It therefore underscores the importance of combining and coordinating public investment in social protection with public and private investments in the productive sectors of agriculture and rural development.