This paper sets out concepts, approaches and contexts in respect of how SP and agriculture relate to each other. Concepts of SP are broadening away from social assistance to embrace ways in which it can reduce shocks and stresses in both domestic and productive environments. It is doing so in ways which seek to prevent the onset of shocks or stresses, mitigate their impact through e.g. insurances of various kinds, enhance the resilience of households and individuals, through e.g. asset-building strategies, so that they are better able to cope with the impacts, and, for the longer term, work in transformative ways by addressing the vulnerabilities arising from social inequities and exclusion. In relation to the agriculture production environment, well-managed SP will seek to reduce both actual shocks and stresses, and agriculturists’ and labourers’ perceptions of likely shocks and stresses. In this way they would both reduce the loss of productive assets, and encourage farmers’ engagement in new, potentially more productive, enterprises, by reducing the levels of risk they perceive in these.
John Farrington, Rebecca Holmes and Rachel Slater