Food Basket New Options
The main objective of the “Cesta Básica” is to protect the poor and vulnerable from expected increasing prices. It targets also the social stability of youth that cannot find jobs and face difficult economic and social pressures. The “Cesta Básica” should be a rapid disbursements and impact instrument. The proposal is to redirect the Cesta to 3 possible alternatives: (i) cash-for-work program; (ii) school feeding program; or (iii) women’s protection program.
These are three short-term safety net instruments. They can enhance the “Cesta Básica”, being more efficient and with faster implementation. These instruments would channel financial resources rapidly to those in need and would contribute to the economic and social stabilization of their target-groups. However, they will not address the fundamental structural issues of the Mozambican economy: job creation, agriculture productivity and incomes, broad-based growth, and poverty reduction. These issues require reforms over the medium and long-run. In addition, it is also important that the existing safety net programs continue, in particular those directed to the elderly, handicapped and vulnerable.
Brief description of the three alternatives:
- Cash-for-work program – this alternative would mobilize, in its first phase, 3,000 youth daily in cleaning and minor maintenance activities in 3 municipalities. They would work for 4 hours, under the municipalities’ supervision. They would be paid 30 MT at the end of the working-day. This program could cover about 4.6 million youth at the end of its 1st-semester. This is a direct way to create temporary and needed employment in the planned municipalities. It would inject recourses into the youth, which as they spend would pour those recourses in their communities. This instrument is rapidly implementable.
- School feeding program – this instrument provides a snack to students of primary schools located in poor suburbs. This instrument is effective on nutrition and students’ participation in schooling, as well as it alleviates family expenditures and could contribute to improve schooling performance. It can be rapidly implemented but it requires more administration than the cash-for-work program.
- Vulnerable women’s protection program – this program provides financial resources to women in poor families. Women would be able to use these resources in those that are the family’s critical expenses. This is a sophisticated and efficient safety net instrument over the medium-run. It requires intensive administration and it could need 6 or more months before the first payments could be realized.