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Centre for Development and Poverty Reduction Imperial College London

Work in Progress: Policy Analysis for Food Security, Poverty Reduction, and Rural Growth in Malawi

Andrew Dorward (e-mail: and Jonathan Kydd (e-mail:

February 2003

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Following the relief response to the food crisis, policy attention in Malawi is now refocusing on means of achieving food security, poverty reduction, and rural economic growth. Unfortunately this is hampered by gaps in our understanding of the processes involved in achieving these goals in Malawi; lack of effective criteria for appraising the impacts of policy alternatives on policy goals; and consequent difficulties in developing consistent and holistic appraisals of these policy options. This briefing paper examines the relationships between these three policy goals and suggests use of a systematic set of policy impact criteria in policy analysis and appraisal. The paper draws on ongoing research2 on problems and policies within poor rural economies and a recently developed set of powerful models of different farm households' behaviours within the Malawian rural economy. We do not attempt here to discuss the merits or demerits of specific policies.

  1. Centre for Development and Poverty Reduction, Imperial College London, Wye Campus, Wye, ASHFORD, Kent, TN25 5AH, UK, Email,
  2. Institutions and Economic Policies for Pro-poor Agricultural Growth, Project R7989 funded by the Social Science Research Unit of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and (for work on Malawi) involving Imperial College London, Bunda College and the International Food Policy Research Institute. The findings, interpretations and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Department for International Development, which does not guarantee their accuracy and can accept no responsibility for any consequences of their use. We acknowledge contributions made to the analysis in this paper by the research team and by Ian Kumwenda, but remain responsible for any errors or omissions. For further information on or outputs from the project see

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