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Striving towards productive and sustainable agriculture

STIAS Workshop

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Promoting sustainable agriculture practices contributes to improving productivity from farms managed by farmers and empowering them. Empowerment refers to expansion of freedom of choice and actions and increasing one’s authority and control over the resources and decisions that affects one’s life.  Some agricultural interventions have an explicit social protection function since they are imed at reducing risks, e.g. crop insurance, input subsidies, input grants and agricultural cash grants. At the micro level, agricultural interventions can improve agricultural output, household income, food security, risk coping, participation in social networks and a range of other welfare/social protection outcomes that reduce vulnerability and mitigate risks. At the meso and macro levels, agricultural growth lowers food prices and boosts food supplies, while the resulting profits increase the resources available for financing social protection. Rapid agricultural growth produces an increase in rural labour incomes that may decrease the aggregate fiscal demand for social protection. Agricultural and social protection instruments when combined to contribute towards productive agriculture provides they are designed and implemented to exploit synergies and avoid conflicts between them. A number of issues need to be addressed:

  • Choice of type of transfer (e.g. cash, food, inputs, or vouchers) should take into account: multiplier effects of different transfer types; specific programme objectives; programme and recipient costs; and market development and effects
  • Timing is critical in seasonal agriculture, and interventions should support, not undermine, people’s strategies for coping with seasonal vulnerabilities and exploiting seasonal opportunities.
  • Scale: Both the size and number of transfers have important threshold and multiplier effects affecting social protection and agricultural outcomes in livelihoods and economies.
  • Conditionality often results in unintended effects which have to be considered in terms of cost and outcome trade-offs across multiple objectives.
  • Stability and reliability of programmes have critical effects on their ability to deliver risk insurance benefits, as these depend on people’s trust in being able to access services when needed.
  • Targeting: Effective targeting is critical to the success of non-universal social protection, but is difficult to achieve and requires substantial resources Costs increase sharply with targeting strictness and the remoteness of the target population.
  • The political economy of local, national and international relations: The funding, design and delivery of social protection and agricultural policies are highly political. Support for different initiatives depends upon their objectives and the interests of financiers, implementers and intended and unintended beneficiaries.

The workshop aims to interrogate the above issues and many others related to the topic with the following academics and industry experts at this one-day workshop on Striving towards productive and sustainable agriculture:

  1. Dr Elina M. Amadhila (PhD), Iso Lomso Fellow, University of Namibia
  2. Dr Olayinka Idowu Kareem (PhD), Researcher, University of Hohenheim
  3. Scott Drimie, Director: Southern Africa Food Lab, Stellenbosch University
  4. Prof Mmapatla Precious Senyolo (PhD), Associate Professor: Agricultural Economics, University of Limpopo
  5. Rachel Sabates-Wheeler, Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies
  6. Tafadzwanashe Mabhaudi, Honorary Research fellow, University of KwaZulu Natal


Date and time

Thursday, 18 May 2023

09:00 – 13:00​

All times are in SAST (UTC+2)


STIAS Wallenberg Research Centre

STIAS, Marais Road, Mostertsdrift

Related to this event


Iso Lomso Fellow


Strategies promoting social protection for agricultural growth have been remarkably successful in some countries (mainly Asian countries) but not in others (mainly African countries). However, Governments...

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