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Impact of access to credit on income and food security in Malawi

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  • Diagne, Aliou

Abstract

The paper departs from the standard practice that takes the estimated marginal effects of either the amount of credit received or membership in a credit program as measures of the impact of access to credit on household welfare. The marginal effects of the formal credit limit variable on household welfare, controlling for the credit limit from informal sources as well as the credit demanded from both sources, measure the marginal effects of access to formal credit. The main finding of the paper is that access to formal credit, by enabling households to reduce their borrowing from informal sources, has marginally beneficial effects on household annual income. However, these effects are very small and do not cause any significant difference between the per capita incomes, food security, and nutritional status of credit program members and noncurrent members. Moreover, the beneficial substitution effect reflects only the fact that reduced borrowing from informal sources makes informal loans play a lesser role in the negative impact that borrowing (from formal or informal sources) has on net crop incomes. The marginal effects on household farm and nonfarm incomes resulting from mere access to formal credit (without necessarily borrowing) are positive and quite sizable, but not statistically significant. Land scarcity and unfavorable terms of trade for the smallholders' farm products remain by far the factors that most constrain per capita household income growth in Malawi. The paper concludes that the necessary complementary resources and economic environment are not yet in place for access to formal credit to realize its full benefits for Malawi's rural population.

Suggested Citation

  • Diagne, Aliou, 1998. "Impact of access to credit on income and food security in Malawi," FCND discussion papers 46, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:fcnddp:46
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    12. Zeller, Manfred & Ahmed, Akhter U. & Babu, Suresh Chandra & Broca, Sumiter S. & Diagne, Aliou & Sharma, Manohar, 1996. "Rural finance policies for food security of the poor," FCND discussion papers 11, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    Cited by:

    1. Hazarika, Gautam & Sarangi, Sudipta, 2008. "Household Access to Microcredit and Child Work in Rural Malawi," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 843-859, May.
    2. Beyene, Fekadu & Muche, Mequanent, 0. "Determinants of Food Security among Rural Households of Central Ethiopia: An Empirical Analysis," Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, vol. 49.
    3. Hazarika, Gautam & Alwang, Jeffrey Roger, 2003. "Access to credit, plot size and cost inefficiency among smallholder tobacco cultivators in Malawi," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 29(1), July.
    4. Namizata Binaté Fofana & Gerrit Antonides & Anke Niehof & Johan Ophem, 2015. "How microfinance empowers women in Côte d’Ivoire," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 1023-1041, December.
    5. World Bank, 2004. "Zambia - Country Economic Memorandum : Policies for Growth and Diversification, Volume 1. Main Report," World Bank Other Operational Studies 15666, The World Bank.
    6. Hazarika, Gautam & Guha-Khasnobis, Basudeb, 2008. "Household Access to Microcredit and Children's Food Security in Rural Malawi: A Gender Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 3793, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Bidisha, Sayema Haque & Khan, Akib & Imran, Khalid & Khondker, Bazlul H. & Suhrawardy, Gazi Mohammad, 2017. "Role of credit in food security and dietary diversity in Bangladesh," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 33-45.

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