Zambia

Food Security and Agricultural Growth

in Zambia

Overview

In the early 2000s, Zambia suffered a severe drought that triggered massive crop failures amounting to a 75 to 100 percent loss. By May of 2002, President Mwanawasa declared a national food security emergency and requested international assistance. He revealed that up to four million Zambians, or roughly 25 percent of the population, risked starvation. Food security remains a significant issue in Zambia since its 2002 crisis. Although strides have been made, Zambians continue to endure starvation.

Challenges

  • Water: Zambia is susceptible to drought if the rainy season fails to deliver sufficient rain. Each year, the country faces a 10 percent probability of a failed rainy season.
  • Low Agriculture Productivity: Agriculture productivity levels are extremely low in Zambia.

Solutions

A Hydro-Meteorological Monitoring Network and high efficiency irrigation systems address the two-pronged challenge associated with Zambia’s food security issues

  • Hydro-Meteorological Monitoring Network: Improving the Hydro-Meteorological Monitoring Network is key to improving water management. These systems incorporate gauges to measure rain, river and stream flow, reservoir depth as well as radar and satellite monitoring. The rich data that this comprehensive network provides would yield fruitful farming and moderate future droughts’ effects.
  • High Efficiency Irrigation: High Efficiency Irrigation (HEI) conserves water resources and ensures crops receive optimal water at peak times. This system corrects the common mistake of over watering crops on small farms, which wastes water resources, increases farming operation costs, and potentially damages the crops. Eliminating over watering can reduce energy consumption on farms seven to 30 percent.