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Protection sociale

Strengthening the coherence between social protection and agriculture to combat food insecurity and rural poverty.


FAO is currently supporting the Government of Mali to strengthen the coherence of agricultural sector programmes and social protection interventions in line with the country's national social protection policy and action plan (PAN-EPS). The PAN-EPS 2016-2018 will include the implementation of actions related to the extension of social protection to rural populations. In fact, there is growing recognition of the importance of ensuring strong coherence and articulation between social protection and agricultural interventions that target poor and vulnerable rural households. Indeed, a strong and coherent articulation, be it between the different components of a programme managed by a single ministry or between programmes managed by different ministries, is likely to generate synergistic effects that can contribute to the reinforcement of positive social impacts, and beneficiary households, thereby improving their resilience to shocks.

FAO, for example, has commissioned an Institutional Assessment study of the National Social Protection Policy and its Action Plan, as well as its linkages with the country's agricultural policies and programmes, to inform government and development partner decisions to strengthen linkages between the two sectors, from planning and budgeting to implementing and monitoring key programmes. The study will also explore the operational processes that take place in implementation phases, by identifying the enabling factors or barriers to strengthening this coherence.

It is important to note that this institutional assessment is part of the inter-regional project to improve the link between social protection and rural development programs in Latin America and Africa, which covers 7 countries. It is a partnership with IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) and two think tanks based in Latin America (UNIANDES in Bogotà and Rimisp in Chile). A national consultant in Mali will conduct this study with government support and technical partners.

As a prelude to this study, Pamela Pozarny, FAO specialist in rural sociology (FAO Regional Office for Africa, RAF) held a workshop on January 07, 2019 to brief and guide the consultant on the objectives expected by the study. It also provided an opportunity for exchanges with participants, social protection focal points of key ministries and partner institutions of FAO (Ministry Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Solidarity and Humanitarian Action, and the Commissariat for Food Security, etc.) as well as FAO staff.

In her presentations, Pamela Pozarny reviewed the importance of coherence between agriculture and social protection in the fight against poverty and food and nutrition insecurity. It highlighted programmatic modalities for strengthening the coherence and basic elements to be taken into account in the formulation and implementation of social protection policies and programs, and also presented the methodology and approach for evaluation. The presence of the focal points at this workshop helped to address the practical aspects for enhancing coherence between social protection and agriculture.

The key points of this workshop will be incorporated into the results of the study, which will undoubtedly serve as a lever to strengthen agricultural and rural development programs. As stated by the government actors, this study is also timely because these results will be taken into account in the development of the next action plan of the national policy of social protection (2019-2023).

Caption: Pamela Pozarny (Senior Rural Sociologist, Investment Centre Africa Service and Rural Poverty Reduction Regional Focal Point for Africa - Regional Office for Africa, RAF) and Daouda Yahaya, social protection and resilience specialist

Photo credit : FAO Mali