Food Security Framework | Underlying Factors
- Inability of small scale farmers to apply good livestock husbandry practices, especially where spending on veterinary drugs is concerned, for either preventive measures or treatment of livestock diseases. In addition, the common practice of communal grazing puts healthy livestock at risk of contracting diseases from neighboring districts where such diseases are endemic. This has resulted in loss of large cattle population in the past 10 years.
- Child headed households have resulted from HIV/AIDS impact and are characterized by low income, constrained labor and limited education opportunities. Food insecurity is likely all year round.
- The aged experience food insecurity as a result of labor constraint; a number have young dependants due to HIV/AIDS impact, low income, lack of social safety net, and no/low remittances.
- The urban unemployed lack assured income for food purchase and meeting livelihood basics, e.g., health, education costs, etc., and access to safe water and proper sanitation facilities.
- Southern and western Zambia are drought prone while the extreme south is naturally low producing due partly to being low rainfall areas and unsuitable terrain for meaningful crop production. Generally it has low comparative advantage in crop production. In addition, despite the poor maize suitability for the area, farmers still want to grow mostly maize with respect to smaller grains such as sorghum and millet, which are more suitable for the area. Southern and western Zambia are also most affected with respect to other areas when there is excessive rainfall.
- Government market policies affect food security. During surplus production seasons, grain prices significantly fall as small scale farmers tend to sell their grain immediately after harvest. This, coupled with Government market interference of not permitting exports until much later in the season to ensure local supply is adequate, results in low earnings for farmers. Increased sale of the grain at very low prices results in some becoming food insecure later in the season. The period of food insecurity due to high sale of grain at low prices would be November to February (lean period), when own stocks are running out and households look to the market, when prices are very high. In food deficit years, the government decision to allow imports comes very late, when regional prices have already increased, making imported food expensive for poor households whose major coping strategy become reduced food intake.