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The impact of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme on food security in Malawi


  • Miller, Candace M.
  • Tsoka, Maxton
  • Reichert, Kathryn


The Malawi Social Cash Transfer Scheme (SCTS) was launched in 2006 to improve food security by directly providing cash transfers to the country's most destitute households. Although government-implemented cash transfer schemes have gained popularity throughout Latin America, these schemes are just emerging in Africa. While where there is evidence of the beneficial impact of cash transfers on food security from Latin American countries, there is a dearth of evidence from resource poor countries in Africa. In order to fill this gap, we conducted a longitudinal, randomized community control study of the pilot SCTS in Mchinji, Malawi from March 2007 to April 2008. In this study, we describe the impact of approximately US$14 per month on food security among recipient households compared to control households using indicators of food consumption and expenditures and dietary diversity. We present compelling evidence, whereby each of the tested outcomes yields large effect sizes that are highly statistically significant, demonstrating a sizeable impact of cash transfers on food security and food diversity in rural Malawi. The SCTS appears to be an effective tool within the National Social Welfare Policy for improving food security in the country's destitute households.

Suggested Citation

  • Miller, Candace M. & Tsoka, Maxton & Reichert, Kathryn, 2011. "The impact of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme on food security in Malawi," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 230-238, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:36:y:2011:i:2:p:230-238

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barrett, Christopher B., 2002. "Food security and food assistance programs," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 40, pages 2103-2190, Elsevier.
    2. Candace M. Miller & Maxton Tsoka & Kathryn Reichert, 2010. "Targeting Cash to Malawi's Ultra-Poor: A Mixed Methods Evaluation," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 28(4), pages 481-502, July.
    3. Ariel Fiszbein & Norbert Schady & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Margaret Grosh & Niall Keleher & Pedro Olinto & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2597.
    4. Frikkie Booysen & Servaas Van Der Berg, 2005. "The Role Of Social Grants In Mitigating The Socio‚ÄźEconomic Impact Of Hiv/Aids In Two Free State Communities1," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 73(s1), pages 545-563, December.
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