Land Redistribution and Household Living Standards in Malawi

This is a research project in collaboration with Italtrend S.p.a (Italy), the Government of Malawi, and the World Bank. An independent impact evaluation of the Community Based Rural Land Development Project (CBRLDP) has been carried out with the aim of assessing the economic impact of the decentralised and community-based land reform carried out in six pilot districts in Malawi. The CBRLDP initiative aims at easing land pressure and improving access to needy rural communities through voluntary land acquisition and redistribution. Its final objective is to increase the incomes of about 15,000 poor rural families through a market-based provision of land to the landless and land-poor beneficiary groups from the six districts in southern Malawi. More specifically, the project was set up so as to provide conditional cash and land transfer to poor families to relocate, purchase, develop and cultivate (larger) plots of farm land. Land reform has been viewed by many development experts as an effective means for reducing poverty since land enriches the asset base of poor households and carries with it the potential for agricultural production and entrepreneurship. Yet, while its implementation is hindered by political constraints, there is little empirical evidence on the actual impact of land redistribution on economic well-being. This project aims at filling this gap by assessing the economic effect of the CBRLDP on households living standards and productivity by using a quasi-experimental approach.