On behalf of the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) we aim at collecting feedback on the HLPE’s study on Social Protection in the context of Food and Nutrition Security and on how to decrease vulnerability through social and productive safety nets, assessing possible solutions and reviewing existing practices.
Social protection has risen rapidly up the development policy agenda in the last decade. Although increasingly dominated by conditional and unconditional cash transfer programmes, the wide range of instruments that aim to alleviate poverty and manage livelihood risks often have direct, intended implications for food security.
Since social protection and smallholder agricultural interventions often cover the same geographic space and target the same households, there are opportunities for synergies and complementarities that strengthen livelihoods of poor rural households.
Social protection policies aim to reduce socio-economic risks, vulnerability, extreme poverty and deprivation, while smallholder agricultural policies focus on improving productivity in crops, fisheries, forestry and livestock and access to markets. Both areas of policy are important elements in poverty reduction strategies, but little attention has been paid to the interaction between them and the implications for design and implementation of related policies and programmes.
Poor rural households that mostly rely on agriculture for their livelihoods are often affected by limited access to resources, low agricultural productivity, poorly functioning markets and repeated exposure to risks. Social protection can help alleviate credit, savings and liquidity constraints by providing cash and in-kind support. In addition, the regularity and predictability of social protection instruments help households to manage risks better and to engage in more profitable livelihood and agricultural activities. Agricultural policies and programmes can help smallholder households manage risk by stimulating farm output, income and overall household welfare.