Local Economic Impacts and Cost-Benefit Ratios of Social Protection and Agricultural Interventions in Malawi

Malawi is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, with an economy driven predominantly by the agricultural sector and suffering from widespread and chronic poverty. In this context, the Government of Malawi has identified social protection as a key instrument in reducing poverty and vulnerability and seeks to enhance agricultural productivity and food security through targeted agricultural interventions. Despite progress, social protection remains inadequate in relation to need, while agricultural interventions often suffer from unclear objectives, being torn between supporting pro-poor agricultural development and enhancing the productivity and output of more commercially oriented producers.

Supporting efforts to improve the design of agricultural and social protection interventions and to inform resource allocation, a study was commissioned by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development (MoFEPD) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD) to simulate the local economic impacts and cost-benefit ratios of a range of design options for standalone and combined social protection and agricultural interventions in Malawi, namely the Social Cash Transfer (SCT), Public Works Programmes (PWPs), the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP), extension services and irrigation.