Agriculture and social protection can complement and support each other in reducing hunger and poverty. On the one hand, agricultural interventions can promote growth in smallholder productivity by addressing structural constraints that limit the access of poor households to land and water resources, inputs, financial services, advisory services and markets. On the other, social protection can provide liquidity and certainty for poor smallholders, allowing them to invest in agriculture, reallocate their labour to on-farm activities, invest in human capital development, increase participation in social networks (which constitute an important source of informal risk management) and better manage risks, thereby allowing them to engage in more profitable livelihood and agricultural activities. Coherence between agricultural development and social protection can be achieved by incorporating social protection objectives, such as risk reduction, in agricultural development and vice versa and by linking activities in the two sectors to create complementarities between programmes.
Through the Protection to Production (PtoP) project, led by FAO and UNICEF, considerable evidence has been generated on the productive and economic impacts of social protection and its contribution to sustainable poverty reduction and economic growth in Africa. However, less is known on how to strengthen the links to agricultural development, including the opportunities for doing so and the challenges to be overcome. Case studies were carried out in seven countries across Africa (Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Zambia), Asia (Bangladesh) and Latin America (Mexico, Peru). The studies examined programme concepts and methods, coordination and outcomes. In most countries, two programmes from the agricultural sector and two from the social protection sector were observed.