Social protection critical in fight against poverty and hunger

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Children in Timor-Leste. .UN Photo/Martine Perret

Social protection is emerging as a critical tool in the drive to eradicate hunger, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Still, despite the success of social protection schemes, the vast majority of the world’s rural poor are yet to have such programmes made available to them.

Social protection initiatives include cash transfers, public works and school meal programmes.

Veronica Reeves reports.

The FAO's annual State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) report found that in poor countries, social protection measures can have dramatic impacts on people's well-being, including helping them move away from extreme poverty and hunger. Such programmes also help improve children's health and education opportunities.

FAO Director-General, José Graziano da Silva said there have already been many examples of positive results from social protection programmes such as free school meals.

"We saw in a few months, after implementing the programmes and we are doing that in many countries in Latin America now and also in Africa, that the children wants to come to the school, stimulated by those meals and the performance also improves a lot."

The FAO report says social protection schemes currently benefit 2.1 billion people in developing countries. The report indicates that expanding such programmes in rural areas and linking them to inclusive agricultural growth policies would rapidly reduce the number of poor people.

The report was released on the eve of Wednesday's annual World Food Day commemoration.

Veronica Reeves, United Nations

Duration: 1’06″

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