The Productive Safety Net Program and the Agri-Food System in Ethiopia: Key Outcomes and Challenges

Ethiopia, June 9, 2020

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  Photo credit: IFPRI/Ethiopia

The Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and the Ethiopia National Information Platform for Nutrition (NIPN) co-hosted a webinar on “The Productive Safety Net Program and the Agri-Food System in Ethiopia: Key Outcomes and Challenges” on 9 June 2021.

Introduction: Dr. Aregash Samuel, Deputy Director of the Food Science and Nutrition Research Directorate at EPHI and the NIPN National Coordinator

Moderator:     Cornelia van Zyl, Senior Technical and Policy Advisor at IFPRI for the NIPN

Presenters:     Dr. Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse, Senior Research Fellow in IFPRI’s Ethiopia Strategy Support Program.

Dr. Filippo Dibari, Nutrition Team Leader, World Food Program, Ethiopia.

Tewodros Hailemariam, Nutrition Lead, National PSNP.

In 2005, Ethiopia launched the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP); a productive approach to provide a safety net to vulnerable populations. Since then, several phases followed, and assessments conducted with lessons incorporated into the program. For example, an assessment of the PSNP 3 showed improvements to household food security, but no reduction in stunting or wasting among children. Issues of diet quality were found, including that the PSNP did not encourage children’s consumption of pulses, oils, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, or animal-source proteins. These findings led to the inclusion of nutrition as a major outcome indicator in the PSNP 4. In 2019, research was conducted on the PSNP 4’s nutrition-sensitive interventions which showed little improvement in nutrition and hygiene related outcomes. Recommendations to achieve tangible nutrition outcomes were included into the PSNP 5. Despite its shortcomings, this national social protection program has an important place within Ethiopia, including in its agri-food system and for its food and nutrition security.

This year marks the year of the United Nations Food System Summit (UNFSS). Great momentum has been created all over the world for the summit, including in Ethiopia. The Ethiopia government has been working towards an Ethiopia Food System Transformation Position Paper and Road Map to be presented during the UNFSS. The PSNP contributes to the Ethiopia food system transformative process and fits within its action track 5, ‘build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stress’.

The webinar was therefore timely as it looked at the PSNP and the agri-food system, the evaluation outcomes, challenges, and recommendations. It also highlighted findings from an assessment of the ‘Fresh Food Voucher’ pilot program which provides a top-up to PSNP households. The webinar shared what is new in the PSNP 5 as it relates to nutrition and food security, quality improvement approaches, and targeting.

These timely and interesting presentations were followed by a lively question and answer (Q&A) session.

The webinar brought together 75 participants from different sectors, including policymakers, academia, researchers, development partners and NGOs, to discuss the evidence and program implications for Ethiopia.

To access the webinar presentations, please click HERE and for the summary of the Q&A session, HERE.

The NIPN is a multisectoral initiative supported by the European Union, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The NIPN in Ethiopia is housed at EPHI, receives technical assistance from IFPRI under its Compact2025 initiative. The NIPN promotes evidence-based decision-making for nutrition and supports the implementation of the National Food and Nutrition Policy.