Zambia is ranked 150th out of 169 on the Human Development Index and has recently been reclassified as a lower middle income country by the World Bank. Poverty and food insecurity are widespread in both rural and urban areas, and the country remains extremely vulnerable to recurring natural disasters, including floods, drought and animal disease.
Food production levels vary widely from year to year. Food security is fragile because subsistence farmers depend on rainfall and traditional hoe cultivation, and even in years of national food surplus, many subsistence farmers or households often struggle.
The lack of proper infrastructure, inadequate provision of agricultural inputs, poor access to markets, and the slow pace of change in attitudes towards crop and livelihood diversification also continue to undermine farming capacity.
The country has had bumper harvest in the maize production since 2011. While the harvest will help to improve overall food security, tens of thousands of people will still require food assistance due to the localised impact of floods and because many of the poorest and most vulnerable people will not be able to access sufficient food, even though staple food prices have fallen from their very high 2008 levels.
The national HIV prevalence rate is ranked seventh globally at 12.7 percent, and chronic malnutrition prevalence for children under age five is ninth highest in the world at 45.4 percent. Some 53 percent and 46 percent of Zambian children have Vitamin A and iron deficiency respectively, compromising their long term development
Standard national statistics for malnutrition levels amongst under-fives are 5 percent wasting, 28 percent underweight and 47 percent stunting (low height for age).
WFP activities in Zambia are implemented as an integral part of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and in line with the ‘Delivering as One’ mechanism under which UN agencies in selected countries have pledged to work together to ensure a more coordinated and effective level of action in areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment.
The WFPs Strategic Plan is aligned with both the Sixth National Development Programme (2011-2016) and The UNDAF (2011-2015). The overarching goal of the strategy is to support the Government's priorities to reach the MDG hunger targets and ensure long-term solutions to hunger, consistent with the Government of Zambia's "Vision 2030
WFP programme activities in Zambia operate within the framework of a Country Programme (CP 2011 to 2015).
CP (DEV 200157) contributes to WFP's Strategic Objectives (1, 2, 3 and 4) and United Nations Development Assistance Framework Outcomes 1 to 5, as well as towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The CP focuses on:
- Improving human capital through food based safety-nets;
- Improving Government preparedness to respond to and mitigate disasters as a way of reducing vulnerability; and
- Expanding market opportunities for smallholder farmers by leveraging local food procurement..
Home Grown School Feeding Programme
The World Food Programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Education has been jointly implementing a School Meals Programme from 2003. A meal is provided to more than 861,000 children across the country every school day.
The programme aims at improving the quality of learning through improved enrolment, retention and reduced absenteeism. The programme targets districts with higher levels of food insecurity and low education achievement also taking into account high HIV, poverty and malnutrition rates. The programme also aims to enhance smallholder farmer’s productive capacity by linking them to a predictable market – in this case the school. Farmers are reached through cooperatives, given skills in crop aggregation to guarantee quality assurance
Purchase for Progress (P4P)
Purchase for Progress (P4P) is a WFP global pilot project aimed at supporting smallholder farmer to improve their marketing arrangements through increased access and better linkages to more lucrative markets. Through P4P, WFP Zambia is supporting the Zambian Government to strengthen its capacity to provide social safety nets to assist poor and hungry households and is committed to purchasing Zambian grown commodities for food assistance interventions in the country and the region.
WFP has linked up with FAO which is implementing the Conservation Agriculture Scale Up program funded by the EU targeting 315,000 farmers. The partnership will focus on the pulses value chain and provide a market for the farmers adopting Conservation Agriculture through a network of aggregation centers. These centers will be designed in such a way that they could evolve into multi service centers for smallholder farmers through strong partnerships with a range of private rural stakeholders. The lessons learned from P4P will be critical in the design of the value chain. Through its Smallholder Agribusiness Promotion Program, IFAD is supporting the project implementation reflecting true RBA collaboration.
Mobile Delivery and Trucking
The Mobile Delivery and Tracking (MDT) originally started to roll out the electronic food voucher program known as “Splash” has transitioned to providing specific technical support for Agriculture, Education, Health, and Social Protection programs. The unit supports the Government of Zambia (GRZ) through the Food Reserve Agency, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health.
The MDT unit participates in several Mobile Technology (M-Tech) Technical Working Groups with the GRZ, and is a vital member of the Cooperating Partner’s group, which includes UNICEF, DFID, and Irish AID, among others
Disaster Risk and Management
Under the Delivery As One WFP has continued to be technical lead in DRR related activities. Through the Capabilities Partnership Programme (CAPRO) WFP provides technical support and capacity building to the DMMU on strengthening disaster preparedness capacities at sub national levels done through comprehensive hazard identification and analysis, early warning which also includes risk and vulnerability analysis as support to bigger national disaster response planning. In addition WFP also Provides technical and financial support in designing and implementing a Comprehensive Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis (CVAA) which contains comprehensive hazards profiling on the basis upon which the resilience building activities are based on