Agriculture, food systems, diets and nutrition in Zambia
This discussion paper (PDF) by Hivos and IIED describes the potential of agriculture and food systems in Zambia to contribute to improving food and nutrition security. Zambian agricultural production is focused on maize. Maize also makes up the major part of the national diet, while nutrient-rich foods are eaten in small quantities. Many Zambians live with food insecurity and malnutrition as a result of poor diets. National nutrition and agricultural policy in Zambia recognizes the need to increase and diversify the production of nutritious foods to tackle hunger and improve diets. However, in practice, most government agricultural funding is still spent promoting maize production, despite repeated findings that this does not reduce food insecurity in the most vulnerable farming households. There are strong arguments for improving diversity in both food production and consumption, with multiple routes to achieve this at different scales and timescales. Recommendations include investments in research and development, agricultural extension and seed system services; improving diet and nutrition considerations in existing food security programmes, and making sure they target those households most vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition; increasing consumer demand for diverse nutritious foods; and collecting data on Zambian diets and food procurement strategies to better frame future responses.
This paper is produced in the project on Sustainable diets for all, aiming to promote diverse, greener, healthier, fairer and more sustainable diets through citizen action.