Growth and Social Protection


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)?

Latest articles

Ethiopian Ministry interview with FAC
Ethiopian Ministry interview with FAC
December 30, 2010 / Growth and Social Protection
Advancing the Social Protection Agenda in Ethiopia: an interview with the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs (MoLSA) Quarterly Bulletin MoLSA: Just for our readers understanding, what does social protection mean? Amdissa: Support given to citizens that are vulnerable to

‘Graduation’ and Social Protection
‘Graduation’ and Social Protection
April 14, 2010 / Growth and Social Protection
This project in the Growth and Social Protection theme focuses on the issue of ‘graduation’ from agricultural support and social protection programmes. Graduation describes a process whereby recipients of cash transfers, food aid or free or subsidised inputs and assets

Promoting Agriculture for Social Protection
Promoting Agriculture for Social Protection
January 22, 2010 / Growth and Social Protection
Agriculture plays a major role in pro-poor economic growth in countries with large, poor rural sectors - this is increasingly recognised. There is also a major focus on social protection interventions to address risks and insecurity affecting poor people. However