United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Tarjeta Alimentar

Social Development National Ministry-Argentina (

    Tarjeta Alimentar (TA), part of the National Plan to Eradicate Hunger (PACH, Spanish acronym), is aimed at reducing food insecurity and promoting access to healthy food. Implemented by the Social Development Ministry, TA gives access, thought a debit card, to the basic food basket to 1.529.700 beneficiaries, reaching 1.945.047 children. Its beneficiaries are parents with children up to 6 years old who receive the Universal Child Allowance (AUH, Spanish acronym), a conditional cash transfer. Pregnant women who receive the pregnancy allowance and persons with disabilities with AUH may also access TA. Beneficiaries are allowed to purchase all types of food except alcoholic beverages.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    From the beginning of the TA implementation (December 2019) until January 2021, each month $4000 pesos were accredited per beneficiary household with one child under 6 years old and $6000 for households with two or more children under this age. Additionally, during the pandemic, in the months of May and December, these amounts were doubled to improve their food purchase power in this challenging context. Since February 2021 this amount increased by 50%. The TA implementation had two stages. For the first 3 months, the card was distributed at massive events where beneficiaries also participated of training sessions on healthy nutrition practices. More than 650.000 people from 14 provinces participated of over 11.500 workshops. In this first stage TA cards were distributed massively; in January 2020 400.000 beneficiaries had received their cards and by the beginning of April more than 1.500.000 cards were distributed all over the country. With the emergence of the pandemic, the implementation characteristics required a change since it was not possible to meet and banks were temporarily closed. Therefore the government rapidly decided to transfer the TA amount to the AUH account, as its holders already had an AUH card previously. Currently TA is one of the most prominent social policies both in terms of coverage- 1.529.700 beneficiaries- and resources used-57% of the ministry budget. During 2020 the Argentinean government invested $95.355.000 pesos in TA. Because of its relevance and scope, TA is being monitored by the Ministry´s monitoring system, and reports on beneficiaries consumption are produced periodically. Moreover, to assess TA´s impacts different evaluations and studies were commissioned to universities, think tanks and civil society organizations.


    Evaluations and studies commissioned evidenced the following TA results and outputs: • Despite receiving TA and AUH, 70,8% of beneficiaries households are poor and 9,1% extremely poor. However, in terms of extreme poverty households who receive TA are more protected than similar households without TA, where extreme poverty scales up to 31,3%. • TA has a positive effect on food security. While 10,3% of households with TA suffered severe food insecurity, this percentage reached 31,3% in households without the benefit. • TA allowed households to maintain or even increase the amount of food consumed. 46% of households with TA declare to have bought more food against 14% of households without TA. • TA contributed to maintain or improve the quality of the food consumed. • TA allowed children to have a higher probability of consuming acceptable levels of fruits, diary and meat than children without the benefit. • More than 50% of TA consumption are healthy food-mainly diary and animal protein.

    Enabling factors and constraints

    One of the main enabling factors are the President´s leadership and will to end hunger in Argentina. The National Plan to Eradicate Hunger (PACH), an early initiative of this administration, reunites key stakeholders and provides political support. TA was quickly implemented because beneficiaries were easily targeted by using AUH database. One of the main constraints is related to inflation, and the fact that the food price in Argentina has been increasing in the last year, reducing TA purchase power. Moreover, the COVID19 pandemic demanded changes to the original program implementation and increased the population demanding food assistance.

    Sustainability and replicability

    TA was a necessary measure in the context of the economic and social crisis Argentina faced by the end of 2019, which was deepened by COVID19 pandemic. It is a successful policy to reduce the number of people who suffer from hunger in the short term and was particularly effective in the context of the world pandemic, where levels of unemployment and food insecurity raised. Therefore, Argentina encourages other countries to explore this kind of practice as a short term answer to face the pandemic consequences and as a way to reduce food insecurity. While this policy was implemented, the Argentinean government developed and implemented a set of social policies mainly based on labor inclusion, which complement TA and make its effects and results more sustainable. It is key to see this practice as part of a more comprehensive approach to hunger zero and poverty reduction strategies.

    COVID-19 Impact

    COVID-19 impacted strongly in TA implementation and required a quick response from the government to guarantee access to this benefit in the context of social isolation. When delivery acts were suspended the government decided to transfer the TA amount to beneficiaries AUH accounts. This was possible because households receiving TA are also AUH beneficiaries. The global increase in food prices due to the pandemic also required to increase the TA amount by 50% since February 2021. TA is a key policy to build back from the pandemic and to work towards the achievement of zero hunger in Argentina. According to research commissioned TA contained extreme poverty levels. 9% of households with TA are under extreme poverty while this percentage scales up to 31% in households without the benefit.

    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    10 December 2019 (start date)
    10 December 2023 (date of completion)
    Social Development National Ministry-Argentina
    Other beneficiaries

    TA households have a lower educational climate, more housing vulnerability and more members than the total of households with children. Most beneficiaries are women. TA is a component of the National Plan to Eradicate Hunger (PACH) that gathers key stakeholders from the government, the private sector and the civil society. TA is implemented in partnership with local governments. Supermarkets and smaller local shops as well as banks are allies.

    Contact Information

    Marcela, Directora General de Información Social Estratégica