Assessment of Impacts of Social Protection Programmes on Subsistence Farmers’ Livelihoods: The Case of Dodota Woreda, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Recently, social protection has received attention of policy makers and researchers to use it as an instrument to build the adaptive capacity of the vulnerable. As learned from a range of experiences of different developing countries, a number of social protection interventions have started to incorporate adaptive measures as a response to the impacts of climate change. This study was conducted with an objective to explore the impacts of both PSNP and OFSP, as social protection interventions, to build adaptive capacity of subsistence farmers by taking the situation in Dodota woreda of Oromia region. The result of the study would have a significance to provide an evidence based data for researchers as well as policy makers on the contribution of social protection to respond to the consequences of climate change. It employed the Longitudinal Impact Assessment (LIA) research methodology to measure the change on adaptive capacity of small holder subsistence farmers to the threats of climate change following the five years intervention of PSNP and OFSP. The result of the study showed that “distress asset sales” to meet food needs have significantly reduced but “distress asset sales” to raise cash for emergency needs such as health expenditure showed no change as a result of five years PSNP intervention. Impacts of implemented PW activities to harness rainwater and improve farmland soil fertility were found encouraging. The result of the study also showed that PW component of PSNP have significant role to promote application of irrigation for crop production. On the other hand, findings of the study have shown that implemented PW have little impact to reduce direct dependence of household livelihood on the sensitive climate related factors, particularly rainfall. Because of the programme design limitations and implementation challenges, OFSP impact to promote climate change adaption through livelihood diversification and income enhancement was found poor. The study showed that the combined efforts of PSNP and OFSP have started to show promising and encouraging result to improve the resilience of the smallholder subsistence farmers to cope or adapt impacts of moderate shocks (eg failure of rainfall) but brought hardly to change resilience to cope with impacts of extreme shocks, especially drought. Generally, PSNP and OFSP intervention have made significant progress to build the adaptive capacity of subsistence farmers to respond to the current vulnerability. But in relation to building the adaptive capacity to respond to the medium and long term trends of climate change impacts, the progrmmes have yet to bring a change and needs to improve the intervention quality and standards. In order to mainstream climate change adaptation into the existing social protection interventions (PSNP and OFSP), two important points must be critically seen by policy makers. Firstly, selection, design and implementation of activities through PSNP and OFSP/HABP must be conducted with the view of their significance to reduce the direct dependence of livelihood strategy to the climate related factors, mainly the unreliable and erratic rainfall. Secondly, both PSNP and OFSP need to focus on and give priority to activities that can enhance and promote livelihood diversification, both within and outside agriculture sector.While selecting of PW activities, priorities should be given to technologies which can promote ground water recharge and irrigation. As HABP documents seemed to properly answer the weaknesses of OFSP to diversify household income, the government needs to speed up implementation of HABP by establishing sufficient rural micro-credit service providers and allocation of adequate budget.



Food Security