chapter  6
Urban social protection and food systems
Lessons from South Africa
By Gareth Haysom , Issahaka Fuseini
Pages 20

This chapter examines the longer-term development implications for food and nutrition when cash transfer interventions intersect with food system changes taking place, particularly in urban areas where food is predominantly accessed through the market. The food system in many parts of the developing world is undergoing dramatic change. South Africa offers insights into these changes and is used here as a case study due to its advanced social protection, or social grant, system. This chapter considers the possible nutritional transition-related consequences for society, while at the same time questions the livelihood-related consequences for the poor when such cash transfer systems are integrated with formal financial systems. The chapter argues that while social protection and particularly cash transfers offer real benefits to society, it questions if certain social protection initiatives, particularly those in urbanised environments experiencing rapid food system transitions, could have unintended negative consequences. Could specific social protection strategies unintentionally exclude certain actors? Ultimately, in a rapidly urbanising context, could certain approaches to social protection constrain the development ambitions embedded in these programmes?

This chapter examines the longer-term development implications for food and nutrition when cash transfer interventions intersect with food system changes taking place, particularly in urban areas where food is predominantly accessed through the market. It considers the possible nutritional transition-related consequences for society, and also examines the livelihood-related consequences for the poor when cash transfer systems are integrated with formal financial systems. Social protection interventions remain an essential part of a wider package of food and nutrition support programs, especially given the demographic transitions currently underway in the global South. The chapter contextualizes the case for social protection, its typologies, applications, implementation and emerging trends through a brief discussion of food system and urban transitions underway in Sub-Saharan Africa. It tracks a number of transitions or changes. The chapter concludes by interrogating the South African success narrative and the long term consequences of developments in social protection disbursement technologies.