Социальная защита

Social protection and agriculture

As many as four billion people do not have access to any social benefits. In particular, smallholder agriculturalists, fishers, and forest-reliant families face significant obstacles when accessing social protection. Despite significant progress, countries across all regions continue to encounter difficulties as they work to expand and enhance the impact of social protection programmes – especially in rural areas.

A thriving agriculture sector requires innovative technological practices, vibrant markets and investment. But this is not enough. Family farmers, fishers and forest-dependent communities must also be able to access these resources and services to overcome obstacles.

Existing evidence shows that together, social protection and agriculture are one of the most effective ways to address market failures and enable households to invest in innovative, sustainable income-generating opportunities.

On the one hand, smallholder agricultural interventions improve access to natural resources, productive inputs, technologies, financial services and markets, and increase employment opportunities for small family farmers. On the other, social protection provides cash or in-kind support to poor family farmers that they can use to purchase and consume food and other basic necessities, access critical services, procure inputs and invest in productive and other household assets.

This allows for greater investments of time and resources in productive activities, while increasing participation of the rural poor in social networks and strengthening their capacities to manage risks.

Combining the two sectors can help protect and promote the welfare of poor small family farmers, leading to more sustainable livelihoods, rural development and progress out of poverty and hunger. 

Despite its importance and proven impact, many rural people engaged in the agriculture sector continue to face specific barriers when attempting to access social security. It is critical to understand these barriers and identify mechanisms to ensure comprehensive, effective and adequate coverage to respond to the specific needs and vulnerabilities of those in the rural sector.

Social protection initiatives can address many of the barriers poor rural households face while empowering them to engage in sustainable income-generating opportunities, thereby ensuring access to more and better food, building human capital, generating productive assets, and increasing access to decent work.

FAO’s role lies on facilitating dialogue among governments and other partners around pro-poor policies and programmes for maximizing the impacts of coordinated strategies for rural development.

FAO provides specific technical expertise and knowledge on agriculture to design productive interventions complementing social protection measures and it raises awareness on why agricultural and social protection linkages are crucial to accelerate progress towards achieving zero hunger and combating poverty.