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Reduce Rural Poverty

We can end extreme poverty in our lifetime. Since 1990, the world has halved the number of extreme poor. However, there are still about 767 million people living under USD 1.90 a day. Countries have committed themselves to ending hunger and extreme poverty by 2030. Investing in agriculture has been, and still is, an effective approach. However, it is not the only one. FAO is taking a broader view to tackling rural poverty. Our programmes and policy guidance focus on the following areas to address and improve the many different factors that contribute to poverty:

GREATER ACCESS

Remove barriers and increase poor peoples’ ability to provide for themselves. This means increasing their access to credit, services, natural resources and other assets, improving their capacity to manage risks and linking small-scale agriculture to markets and food systems.

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FAO programmes address the issue of lack of access to credit and to agricultural inputs (mainly seeds and fertilizers).

FAO framework on pluralistic market-oriented services to reduce rural poverty

Mozambique: electronic voucher scheme aimed at enabling market access to agricultural inputs

FAO implements programmes that help safeguard people's rights to property or access to land, forests and fisheries.

Colombia: Land access and restitution at the heart of peacebuilding

INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY

Increase the productivity of small farms while promoting the sustainable use and management of natural resources.

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We help family and small holder farmers learn ways to make their farms more productive while using more environmentally friendly strategies.

Central Asia: Sustainable crop production intensification to ensure food security for a growing population.

FAO helps farmers introduce tools and machinery to make land more productive. By using new climate-smart technologies, FAO is also ensuring that we are not further damaging the environment.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Sustainable mechanization has much to offer

DECENT EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Create decent farm and off-farm employment for the poor, including men, women and youth, by promoting entrepreneurship and developing their occupational skills.

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FAO helps women fishers obtain legal recognition of their work from the government and achieve better working conditions

Costa Rica: Improving working conditions of women fishers

 Our programmes mitigate rural youth distress migration by helping young agro-entrepreneurs start up and run their own businesses in rural areas particularly prone to migration.

Tunisia: Boosting youth employment to reduce distress migration

BASIC LEVEL OF INCOME AND SOCIAL PROTECTION

Build and scale-up social protection systems, like cash transfer programmes.

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We support cash transfer programmes and other forms of social protection that focus on the poorest, most vulnerable people to help them invest in their livelihoods and lands, allowing them to better cope with shocks.

Cash Transfers: Promoting Sustainable Livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa 

Zambia: Social cash transfers help break poverty cycle and foster productivity

Mauritania: The productive transfers /CASH+ approach in the Sahel: empowering women

By providing agricultural inputs and technical training to farmers so that they can produce food and earn income again, FAO helps people affected by emergencies with long-term recovery and rehabilitation efforts. These programmes give priority to women’s groups and female-headed households as they reliably invest back in society.

Nepal: FAO earthquake emergency response helps empower women farmers

STRONGER INSTITUTIONS

Strengthen the role of rural institutions, community organizations and local governments in policy dialogue and decision-making.

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Farmer organizations address common challenges and help build agribusiness capacities by encouraging farmers to think and plan before putting seeds into the ground. By uniting efforts family farmers can have a stronger voice and achieve collective action when it comes to decision making.

Caribbean: Improved farmers’ organizations support Caribbean economies

Forest and farm producer organizations are drivers of sustainable global development

EMPOWERED PEOPLE

Empower the rural poor to actively participate in and benefit from the development process.

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FAO has begun Dimitra community listeners’ clubs to enable women, men and youth to share concerns about all aspects of society. The listening club boosts self-confidence, helps resolve community conflicts peacefully, gives rural women an increased role in decision-making and raises awareness about the needs and priorities of rural populations.

Community listeners’ clubs empower rural women and men

FAO through the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) partnership, has supported Mayangna women to sell local products and improve their livelihoods. Through capacity building they acquired market knowledge and learned to improve product quality, while preserving their culture.

Improving livelihoods of indigenous women in Nicaragua

EQUAL TREATMENT

Reduce gender inequalities, particularly regarding access to social services and productive resources.

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FAO supports countries in designing and implementing gender-responsive laws, policies and programmes.

Empowering women to end hunger and poverty

FAO is involving local women’s organizations during the formation of a project or programme to ensure that the scope and outcome of the project are inclusive of their needs.

FAO Forestry publication: "How to mainstream gender in forestry: a practical field guide"

FAO provides policy and regulatory advice to countries to help them attain gender‐equitable land tenure policies and practices.

Developing gender‐equitable legal frameworks for land tenure: A Legal Assessment Tool

BETTER POLICIES

Help countries implement a comprehensive set of policies and strategies for rural poverty reduction at territorial, country and regional levels.

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FAO supports rural investment by implementing and evaluating agricultural investment plans, strengthening national agricultural investment capacities and advising governments on policy and legislation.

Mongolia: Development of RuralInvest

FAO has developed voluntary guidelines for governments and other actors to improve the systems that deal with the rights to use, manage and control land, fisheries and forests. The guidelines provide information on internationally accepted practices, contribute to policy development and enhance the transparency of tenure systems.

Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure

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FAO helps countries integrate poverty reduction strategies and climate change initiatives including by fostering inter-ministerial collaboration.

FAO works to strengthen cooperatives and farmer’s organizations and improve access to resources, services, markets, technologies, knowledge and decision-making to boost their resilience and adaptation to climate change.

Forest and Farm Facility Initiative for climate-resilient landscapes and improved livelihoods

FAO promotes diversification green jobs creation and good practices on sustainable agriculture for rural people to adapt to climate change.

Organic Agriculture: African Experiences in Resilience and Sustainability

FAO supports countries to design risk-informed and shock responsive social protection systems to cope with climate change.

Social protection, emergency response, resilience and climate change – a new interactive learning tool