The Zambian government recognizes that in order to reduce poverty and improve food security for millions of Zambians, there needs to be consistent, broad-based economic growth. To do this, the government is focusing on finding ways to increase incomes for farmers, the backbone of the agricultural sector. The focus is on small farmers in particular, because they depend heavily on subsistence agriculture and receive very little income for selling their products or working other jobs. Without a reasonable income that can act as a buffer for rural families, a poor harvest, low market prices, or other issues can lead to food insecurity, malnutrition, sickness, and a continuing cycle of poverty.
USAID/Zambia programs are part of the Feed the Future initiative and focus support on activities that increase economic growth and reduce poverty in Zambia. For example, USAID/Zambia is working to increase small farmer productivity, improve access to markets so farmers can sell their goods, and help to create a friendly environment for private sector investment in agriculture.
More specifically, USAID/Zambia is encouraging rural economic growth through the following activities:
Increasing the productivity of small farmers
USAID/Zambia is supporting innovative, public and private sector-led activities that encourage the increased production of high-value crops. The USAID/Zambia also supports the promotion of conservation agriculture, improving access to agricultural inputs (fertilizer, equipment, training, etc.), technology, improving land use, irrigation, and research and development for more productive, resilient crops. Since malnutrition and poverty usually go hand in hand, USAID/Zambia will also seek to improve the household nutrition practices and health of rural families, along with increasing their incomes.
Expanding markets and trade
It is also important to encourage private sector participation and investment in the agricultural sector in Zambia. Therefore, USAID/Zambia is supporting the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) Compact, which will help to create an encouraging environment for private sector investment. USAID/Zambia will also focus on addressing policy and regulatory issues related to agriculture, natural resource management, identifying trade opportunities, issues and constraints, and developing a supportive policy and regulatory environment for agriculture. Additional activities will support public-private approaches to increase the competitiveness and income of small farmers, and to facilitate their access to credit and financial services.
Improving the management of natural resources
As part of the Global Climate Change initiative, USAID/Zambia is currently managing activities that encourage the sustainable use of resources and appropriate strategies for adaption and mitigation of global climate change.