This paper presents the preliminary findings of a baseline survey of 1800 households in three different agricultural development divisions which was undertaken by the Centre for Social Research in Malawi in 1989/90. The survey illustrates some of the effects of the liberalisation of the agricultural produce marketing since 1986/87 and proves that the public marketing corporation ADMARC as well as agricultural pricing policy are crucial to the achievement of food security. A liberalised market must therefore be supplemented by additional measures, as outlined in this paper.