A new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) finds that social protection is emerging as a critical tool in the drive to eradicate hunger, yet the vast majority of the world’s rural poor are yet to be covered.
"It is urgent that we act to support the most vulnerable people in order to free the world of hunger," said FAO’s
"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 labor and raise school attendance, all of which increase productivity," he added.
The State of Food and Agriculture 2015 shows 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.
According to FAO, such programmes currently benefit 2.1 billion people in developing countries in various ways, including keeping 150 million people out of extreme poverty. Expanding such programs in rural areas and linking them to inclusive agricultural growth policies would rapidly reduce the number of poor people, the report says.
Adapted from the UN website