The rapidly evolving social protection agenda often targets farming families in Africa, but the linkages between social protection and agricultural growth outcomes are not well conceptualised or understood. For example, social protection often does not take agricultural seasonality into account, leading to poorly timed interventions and sub-optimal outcomes. Conversely, well designed interventions can support farmers to become self-reliant and ‘graduate’ from social protection support.
The work of this theme aims to highlight the centrality of seasonality in rural livelihood vulnerability, to advocate social protection policies that ameliorate adverse seasonality, and to identify policy approaches that maximise positive synergies and minimise negative trade-offs between social protection and agriculture.
Questions addressed by this theme include:
- Can synergies be identified between welfare-protecting and growth-promoting social protection and agricultural policies? Are there combinations of growth and social protection strategies and instruments that can promote both agricultural and non-agricultural growth and social protection?
- How do changing patterns of agricultural seasonality affect rural livelihoods in Africa? Is climate change making the seasons more unpredictable, and how this has affected patterns of production and growth on the one hand, and vulnerability and social protection needs on the other?
- Are contemporary social protection measures (such as targeted cash transfers) adequate for addressing the food insecurity and vulnerability to which African governments previously responded with much broader measures (e.g. food subsidies and strategic grain reserves)?