Published on August 17, 2009
Access to Food: Safety Nets and Hunger Solutions for the Most Needy Joachim von Braun International Food Policy Research Institute Strategic Meeting of WFP on “School Feeding: Feed Minds, Change Lives” Bellagio, Italy, July16, 2009
Social safety nets and the food and financial crises Many governments effectively used existing safety net programs to mitigate impacts of the food crisis, though political constraints sometimes limited the response But some governments did not expand safety nets This is an vital period to reexamine the role of social safety nets, particularly regarding securing access to food Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009
Key actions that need to be taken (Conclusions of IFPRI’ activity on “the poorest and the hungry” 2006-2008; Beijing) 1. Promote inclusive growth with emphasis on rural growth and –in many countries - on agriculture 2. Enhance access to assets, infrastructure, markets 3. Strengthen and move faster to social protection 4. Accelerate investments in health, nutrition, education, particularly for children and women 5. Include the excluded The mix is different for different countries and regions (Africa, Asia, and Latin America) Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009
Growth, poverty reduction, and hunger (1) For poor (very poor) households, a 10% increase in income increases caloric acquisition by 3% (5%) “Income growth and hunger reduction are tightly wedded” and of the 10 low income countries that reduced hunger index the fastest since 1990, 8 are also among the top 10 in agricultural growth BUT Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009
Growth, poverty reduction, and hunger (2) “Income growth and pre-school malnutrition are loosely meshed” The direct effect of income growth on pre-school nutrition is low, so other investments (targeted programs aimed at pre-schoolers) are needed - Note that given the high economic returns to reducing pre-school malnutrition, these too are excellent investments! Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009
Pro-poor social protection and nutrition interventions needed Protective actions e.g.: • Cash transfers • Employment-based food security programs Preventive actions e.g.: • School feeding • Early childhood nutrition programs Focus on the most vulnerable: children, women, excluded groups, the poorest Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009
Problem zone “under–two”: the most risky age Weight for age by region 0.5 0.25 NCHS 0 Reference -0.25 Z-score (NCHS) -0.5 -0.75 -1 -1.25 -1.5 -1.75 -2 0 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 33 36 39 42 45 48 51 54 57 60 Age (months) Africa Latin America and Caribbean Asia But no reason to play the under two’s against school children: Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009 there are important linkagesSource: Shrimpton et al. 2001.
Guatemala: Early childhood nutrition impacting adult education and productivity Grade attainment Nutritional intervention 27% (women) among Guatemalan children 0-7 years old Cognitive ability 8% (’69-’77) Reading Follow-up in adults 25- 17% comprehension 42 years old (’02-04) Investments in early childhood nutrition can Income earned per be long-term drivers of hour worked 20% economic growth (men) 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009 Source: Hoddinott et al. 2008. Lancet (in revision).
What do we know about safety nets and access to food? School feeding programs (1) Household vs. individual food security • Careful studies from the Philippines and Bangladesh show that school-age children keep most of the calories transferred at school meals Quality and size of food transfers • Larger and more nutritious food transfers were vital to achieve impacts on learning achievement and iron status: school meals or take-home rations providing 1100 kcal of iron-fortified food per day reduced anemia prevalence among adolescent girls in Uganda by 18 percentage points Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009 Source: Dan Gilligan, IFPRI, 2009.
What do we know about safety nets and access to food? School feeding programs (2) Obtain complementarities with education objectives • In Uganda, separate school meals and take-home rations programs both improved scores on math achievement tests and cognitive development tests • Timing of meals not critical: Learning and cognitive benefits of FFE programs were similar whether the meals were given at school or through take-home rations. Improved access to food was critical. Potential nutrition benefits to young children • In Burkina Faso, take-home rations conditional on school attendance improved the anthropometry of pre-school siblings of beneficiary children • In Uganda, school feeding (but not take-home rations) improved the anthropometry of pre-school age siblings of beneficiary children possibly through direct spillovers of fortified food to these siblings Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009 Source: Dan Gilligan, IFPRI, 2009.
What do we know about safety nets and access to food? Conditional cash transfers Composition of consumption • Recent evidence from many countries in Latin America shows that cash transfers from CCTs increased the share of income spent on food at all income levels. • May be because most CCTs transfer money to women or because of complementary messages about the benefits of good nutrition Diet composition • In some countries, CCT transfers led to increased diet diversification and improved diet quality Long-term consumption smoothing • In Nicaragua and Mexico, CCT beneficiaries were better able to smooth their consumption during economic shocks, which increased future incomes and access to food Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009 Source: Dan Gilligan, IFPRI, 2009.
Issues in designing safety nets for food security Cost-effectiveness • Safety nets can be expensive to operate and require perpetual expenditures • In well-run programs, larger transfers do have greater impacts • Effective targeting is an important tool • The growing body of evidence: the cost- effectiveness of many programs is higher than previously thought Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009
Issues of safety net design • Transactions costs of systems: administrative capacity, information, costs • Switching systems or adding components (CCTs, employment guarantee) • Political sustainability of systems: commitment, structure of institutions • Innovation and optimization of systems: learning by doing; series of impact studies and experimental designs e.g. IFPRI studies in Mexico (PROGRESA), Brazil (BOLSA), Turkey (CCT), Bangladesh (FFE), Ethiopia (PSN) . Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009
How much is spent on social protection? • Health (% of GDP) - Germany, France, Sweden: 7-8% - India, Somalia, Georgia: < 1% • Pensions (% of GDP) - Austria, Greece, Poland: 11-13% - Nigeria, Bangladesh, Mozambique: < 1% • Social assistance (% of GDP) - Pakistan, Peru, Colombia, Chile: < 1% Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009 Source: Dethier 2007.
Developing countries: National income, social spending, and infant mortality Plot of GOVEXP with GNI Plot of INFANT with GNI (right scale) Expon. (Plot of GOVEXP with GNI) Expon. (Plot of INFANT with GNI (right scale)) 1,600 100 GOVEXP per capita (US$) 90 (per 1000 live births) 1,400 80 1,200 70 INFANT 1,000 60 800 50 600 40 30 400 20 200 10 0 0 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000 GNI per capita (US$) Source: Data from World Bank 2007 and WHO 2007. Note: Data for health and education expenditure: 2003-04 or latest year(s) , Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009 (not earlier than 2000). Data for infant mortality: 2004-05.
How to scale up social protection? • Start with existing institutions and choose appropriate scale • Strengthen tax base • Improve information and incentives • Create broad-based political and stakeholder support • Pursue public–private partnerships • Draw on global lessons • Think across institutions: markets, microfinance, insurance, services Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009
The two dual challenges for policy 1. Accelerate growth and its pro-poor qualities! 2. Accelerate social spending and its effectiveness! Joachim von Braun, IFPRI, July 2009
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