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Policy paper

Social Protection and Resilient Food Systems: The role of cash transfers

2013 — By Rebecca Holmes, Dharini Bhuvanendra

Cash transfers – a form of social protection – have been increasingly used as a tool for reducing poverty and vulnerability in middle and low-income countries over the past decade. More recently, cash transfers have also been used as an alternative to food aid in humanitarian contexts.

The objective of this paper is to identify how far cash transfers can contribute to more resilient food systems. It does this by examining the theoretical pathways by which cash transfers can contribute to each of the four pillars, and then discusses the evidence from a range of cash transfer programmes to assess how far the theoretical claims contribute in practice. It then assesses the key design, implementation and contextual factors that affect these pathways. The paper concludes with policy implications.