Picture yourself as a subsistence farmer, which means you produce just enough food to feed your family, in a rural village of a developing country. You have little or no access to agricultural productivity networks or services and along with 73 percent of the world’s population, you have no social protection. You are dependent on agriculture for your livelihood, but may remain stuck in a vicious cycle of hunger and poverty.
Social protection aims to lift people out of hunger and poverty through financial or in-kind support. These policies, programs, and interventions can ensure direct access to food or the means to buy food, and can increase farm incomes, crop yields, and livestock productivity. Many people lacking social protection live in rural areas of developing countries. In the event of a crisis, these farmers are forced to cope with the effects on their own, turning to measures—such as selling livestock—that increase vulnerability.
Social protection not only prevents people from going hungry in the short term, but also stimulates agricultural production and provides greater income stability in the long-term, thus reducing poverty and increasing food security.
As the global population grows, agricultural production must increase by 60 percent to meet the anticipated food demand of 2050. Providing people with food in times of need is not enough. Farmers—no matter how small or rural—must have access to infrastructure, credit, and functioning markets, as well as the innovations and technologies essential to the development of the agricultural sector.