The Role of Digital Payments in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security

Guide for APEC decision-makers for increasing digital payments

This paper examines how a shift to digital payments can provide powerful solutions that help countries improve agricultural productivity and ensure food security, thus raising incomes, reducing hunger, and driving financial inclusion. The report aims to help Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies to begin (or expedite) the shift to digitize payments in their agriculture sectors. In addition, the information and recommendations herein are likely to assist APEC economies and other countries in fulfilling their commitments toward Sustainable Development Goal #2: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.

The paper begins by summarizing the state of food security, agricultural productivity, and the interplay between the two across several geographies, and then examines digital payments as a specific mechanism for improving agricultural productivity and providing social support. Three key barriers to a sustainable agricultural sector are reviewed: inefficient value chains and markets, an overall lack of financial services for farmers, and unreliable safety nets.

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