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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Eradicating extreme poverty: what is the role of agriculture?

Birgit Nimukamba Madsen

Community based programmes developed and implemented on Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) methodology, techniques and activities and strongly supported by Governmental political-, legal-, economical – and institutional structures at both national and local levels may be the only genuine, sustainable solution to reach the extreme poor women and the extreme poor men in rural areas.

Some national and multilateral aid agencies have been involved with various models of this kind for decades.

However, we/they need to learn, adjust and apply again from these experiences in order to continue improving the approaches although they are low cost and long-term and therefore often seen as failures.

Another challenge for FAO could be strengthening of its support to poor, landless casual male and female workers in multinational, agricultural plantations. This could for instance be in pineapple cultivation, which is both a nutritious food crop, cash crop and export commodity.

The poor casual workers need support with respect to all aspects of their livelihoods, such as from salary and working conditions to training and housing.

FAO could preferably coordinate support with other relevant UN agencies like ILO and in that way have a strong influence on national government labour laws and regulations.

My personal experience from 45 years of professional work in various research and aid agencies is that the extreme poor landless women and men are almost impossible to reach because of lack of any entry points in non-existing supporting structures.

Birgit Madsen

previously Women in Food Systems Officer, FAO HQ