More on Zambia

Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Despite political stability and more than a decade of consistent economic growth, the country faces numerous challenges including food insecurity, undernutrition, chronic poverty and natural disasters.

Unpredictable weather patterns have affected communities over the last decade. Farmers rely heavily on seasonal rains and subsistence-style farming is common in the country. The Zambian climate is favourable for growing a range of crops including maize, cotton, tobacco, and groundnuts.

Zambia was reclassified by the World Bank as a lower middle-income country in 2011. While it has maintained steady economic growth rates for the past decade, human development indicators remain static, with the country still ranking 139 out of 188 countries in the 2015 Human Development Index.

WFP has been in the country since 1967.

What the World Food Programme is doing in Zambia

  • Home Grown School Meals

Initiated by WFP during a food crisis in 2002 and now managed and funded by the Government, Zambia’s national Home Grown School Meals programme provides nutritious cooked meals to almost one million schoolchildren. Whenever possible, food is purchased from Zambian smallholder farmers. WFP is supporting the Government in its goal to reach 2 million children by 2020.

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Facts about Zambia

  • Population: 16.2 million
  • Life expectancy: 60 years
  • 40% of children under 5 suffer from stunting and 6% from wasting
  • Poverty levels stand at 63% and extreme poverty at 42%, with peaks of 70% in rural provinces
  • Building resilience and strengthening responses to climate change

Through the Rural Resilience Initiative (R4), WFP in Zambia is helping smallholder farmers to address the risks posed by climate change-related events, such as drought. This is done through conservation agriculture activities supported by the ‘Conservation Agriculture Scale Up’ programme of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Targeted smallholder families are equipped with strategies to help build resilience over time and escape poverty and food and nutrition insecurity.

  • Response to El Niño

Developed with support from WFP and other agencies to respond to the recent El Niño weather event, the Government’s Integrated Emergency Response Programme includes interventions such as social cash transfers, maize distribution, emergency school feeding, nutrition surveillance and emergency supplementary and therapeutic feeding for infants and children under five years of age.  

  • Nutrition

WFP in Zambia hosts and co-facilitates – together with the National Food and Nutrition Commission – the Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN) Business Network. As part of the global SUN movement, the Network supports businesses to enhance their role in promoting nutrition. The SUN Business Network – comprising 60 organizations, including at least 30 local businesses – aims to increase awareness and the demand for nutritious products; strengthen commercial engagement within the nutrition marketplace; and improve the regulatory environment for nutrition.

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Featured Zambia publications

  • Zambia: WFP Country Brief (PDF, 510 KB)

    A Country Brief provides the latest snapshot of the country strategy, operations, operational highlights (achievements and issues/challenges), partnerships and country background.

Looking for more publications on Zambia? Visit the Zambia publications archive.