Agriculture contributes 9.6 percent of Zambia’s GDP, but employs almost two thirds of the labor force. With endemic poverty, and small scale rain fed farms being the norm, the country is particularly vulnerable to variations in climate conditions.
Zambia is a landlocked Sub-Saharan African country with a predominantly sub-tropical climate. Agriculture contributes 9.6 percent of Zambia’s GDP, but employs almost two thirds of the labor force. The country is divided into three main agro-ecological regions. The dry south-east was once considered the bread basket of the nation, but now experiences low, variable rainfall. The central region is the most agriculturally productive, with higher rainfall and relatively fertile soils. The third region to the north receives high volumes of rain. As a result, the soils in this region are highly leached and acidic.
Agricultural production is dominated by small-scale farmers, the majority of whom work on less than two hectares of land (UNDP 2010). With very little infrastructure for water collection, many farms lack irrigation systems. As a result they rely solely on rain-fed agriculture, rendering them particularly vulnerable to variations in climatic conditions. Poverty is endemic (84 percent) among small-scale farmers.
Climate change effects will include increased frequency of extreme weather events as well as shifts in rainfall patterns and temperature. According to the Zambian Vulnerability Assessment Committee, some 1.2 million people depended on food relief following the drought in 2004/05, whereas the number of people affected by floods in 2006/07 amounted to 1.4 million people.
UNDP and FAO are supporting farming communities in Zambia identify and implement adaptation strategies through the Integrating Agriculture Into NAPs initiative. This entails:
- strengthening technical and institutional capacities for NAP implementation
- developing a strategy for integrating adaptation measures with national planning and budgeting processes (Kenya Climate Smart Agricultural Framework Programme)
- strengthened relevant monitoring and evaluation capacities
- disseminate lessons learned and case studies on integrating agriculture into NAPs process at a national level
Ms. Mwape, who works as an Environmental and Social Inclusion Manager in the Interim Climate Change Secretariat in Zambia, shares in this video her views about the importance of integrating the agriculture sectors in the country’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP).