Jeffrey Alwang, George W. Norton
Smallholder farmers in dryland areas, including the Arab region, face many risks, including those relating to weather and markets. While risk-taking is necessary for economic development, many risks are so severe that responses to them entail long-term losses. Social risk management is a family of tools that facilitates efficient risk management and can help eliminate risk-related poverty traps. Safety nets form an important part of the social risk management toolkit; it is therefore important to evaluate their effectiveness. This review has identified several considerations for the design and implementation of safety nets to improve food security among small-scale producers in dryland areas. The main conclusions are: safety nets must be part of an integrated risk management strategy; they should be designed to contribute to long-term agricultural growth; more effort is needed to establish efficient risk management mechanisms prior to crises.