Social Protection for Enhanced Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa

01 Feb 2012


This paper identifies several positive synergies between social protection programmes and food security outcomes. One function of social protection is to manage and reduce vulnerability, and several instruments are reviewed – weather-indexed insurance, public works programmes, emergency food aid and buffer stock management – which all contribute to stabilising income and access to food across good and bad years, or between the harvest and the hungry season. Other social protection instruments aim to contribute to raising household income and crop production, for instance agricultural input subsidies or input trade fairs, as well as public works projects that construct or maintain physical infrastructure such as rural feeder roads and irrigation canals. This paper also argues that food security can be strengthened if social justice is introduced to the design and delivery of social protection programmes. Examples reviewed include rights-based approaches such as employment guarantee schemes, community-based targeting and social audits. The paper concludes by arguing for a comprehensive approach to social protection that will achieve sustainable food security, by combining interventions that stabilise income or food production with those that raise income or food production, and are designed and delivered in ways that enhance social justice.

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