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Linking Growth and Social Protection: The Agriculture Case

We know that to promote growth in sectors such as agriculture has direct poverty reduction effects. In addition, social protection is now being promoted for the safety net it can provide both to those engaged in productive activity, and to those who (because of sickness, old age and ‘caring’ commitments) cannot easily engage.

This study explores how positive interactions between social protection and growth can be promoted and negative ones minimised. On the positive side, we already know that some interventions, such as low risk agricultural technologies, lend themselves to uptake by the more vulnerable, and, on the negative, that some forms of social protection, such as free or subsidised food distribution, can adversely affect agriculture. Other interactions, whether positive or negative, are less obvious, and may be rooted in the building and protection of assets of various kinds, or even in apparently unconnected spheres such as the regulation of trade and investment.

In a context where social protection and the promotion of growth are often administered by different agencies, and where structural change is putting some production systems and social relations under pressure, this study asks – using agriculture as an example – how positive and negative interactions can best be identified and policy responses designed.


John Farrington, Rebecca Holmes