IPC-IG’s and FAO RLC’s study on COVID-19 and social protection in rural areas showcased in three Policy Research Briefs

latin america fruit stand with banana cocoa pineapple

The International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (FAO RLC) are conducting a study on social protection responses to the COVID-19 crisis in countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), focusing on policies aimed at ensuring the functioning of food chains in rural areas and the protection of the rural population. Results are detailed in three soon-to-be-published Policy Research Briefs, analysing rural social protection measures in seven different countries of the region. 

The first brief—“Intersection between food security and production protection”—explores the relationship between social protection and productive inclusion to analyse best practices that have ensured food security in the region during the pandemic. It details the rural social protection responses of four LAC countries: Argentina, Belize, Mexico, and Panama. Only 7 of the 413 programmes mapped focus on farmers and food production.  

Investigating the measures and programmes in Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, the second brief— “COVID-19 and employment in the agri-food sector: analysing labour market and social insurance responses”—explains how social protection, especially social insurance and labour market policies, can protect and promote rural employment. It was observed that only five per cent of social insurance and twelve per cent of labour market measures explicitly included rural families and agricultural workers. 

The third and final study presents case studies for Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Peru, and discusses how digitalisation can enhance the coverage and effectiveness of rural social protection in the LAC region. Several challenges were revealed, such as low internet coverage and use, and little innovation towards reaching rural populations, which may limit access to social protection programmes. 

All Policy Research Briefs analyse three or four regional best practices that have been implemented or adapted during the pandemic to formulate policy recommendations. 

On 11 November, the IPC-IG and FAO RLC held a webinar on the theme, with the participation of IPC-IG’s researcher Beatriz Burattini, to provide an overview of the best practices of social protection responses to COVID-19 in rural areas of LAC and engage other stakeholders to discuss rural social protection in the region. 

Photo: Xeni4ka / Canva