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Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición • Foro FSN

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

Ana Paula  de la O Campos

Dear Members of the forum,

Thank you once again for your contributions. You continue to raise very important points in relation to making agricultural interventions reach the poorest of the poor, which is challenging. Also, thank you for pointing to specific case studies from Kenya, Pakistan, Cameroon, Belgium, and others.

Some of you have pointed to the fact that the poorest have very little land and few or no inputs, and therefore, dedicated programmes are needed to reach them, using a multidimensional approach: cash transfers, asset transfers, credit, skills development, continuous support, and empowering structures such as self-help groups and farmer organizations. The land access question is also fundamental and it is also very difficult to address from a policy level.

Thank you also for pointing out the need to understand poverty from a multidimensional perspective. Income measures of poverty are less useful when trying to address the drivers of poverty, particularly when looking at agricultural interventions for the poorest. I think that a better understanding of how poverty manifests itself in rural areas is still much needed, and these diagnostics need to be participatory, but also the process needs to be empowering.

The role of nutrition in the eradication of extreme poverty is fundamental. Several studies point to the fact that despite progress in poverty reduction, nutrition is not a given. It is the “hidden poverty” as some of you have mentioned. This is an invitation to reflect on the state of our food systems and how we could make them more beneficial from the nutritional point of view, but also from the employment generation and suitability of resources. There will be trade-offs for sure, but giving more value to the “basics” of a sustainable healthy life should be at the basis of policy making, which is reflected in our Agenda 2030.

Also, thank you for pointing the role that FAO has in advocating for sustainable peace. Conflict affects food production through the loss of land, infrastructure, and the displacement of farming communities. In conflict situations, poverty reduction efforts become more challenging, including the strengthening of local institutions who are the ones making development sustainable in the long run.

I look forward to reading more of your contributions during the last days of this discussion. 

Ana Paula