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The Zambian Food Change Lab: jointly identifying solutions to Zambia’s food systems challenges

  • Published on October 7, 2021
Zambia has a vast agricultural potential; however, 35% of its children under the age of 5 are stunted, and 23% of Zambians are overweight. At the same time, a
longstanding national agricultural policy favouring maize monocropping has contributed to considerable soil degradation, loss of agro-biodiversity, and made farms more vulnerable to droughts and floods caused by climate change, as well as pests and diseases.
In Zambia, national policies favour the production of maize, providing subsidies, cheap inputs and fertilisers to farmers. Few resources are invested in producing a broader diversity of other, more nutritious and climateresilient food crops, like sorghum and millet. As a consequence, many have poor access to affordable, nutritious and diverse foods, contributing to the country’s triple burden of malnutrition. Maize monocultures have caused the impoverishment of soils, the decline of agro-biodiversity, and have weakened farms’ and households’ resilience against external shocks like climate change.

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