Zambia Hunger AlertPosted by: admin | Posted on: July 31, 2008
Although Zambia’s overall harvest is forecast to improve this year, parts of the southern region are facing another year of food shortages due to unfavorable weather conditions.
Erratic rainfall resulted in the loss of significant crops, while pockets of the country also lost their crops due to flooding when the rains finally did come.
Zambia’s agricultural production is hampered by the under-utilisation of the large amounts of available arable land and the abundant water resources.
Following the drought last year, 2.8 million Zambians required food aid up until the end of March 2003. This figure will fall dramatically in April as the harvest starts across the country, but hundreds of thousands of people will continue to need food aid, especially in the south.
The crisis in Zambia has been exacerbated by high levels of poverty and economic decline due to contractions in the crucial copper mining industry.
Even when the rural hungry can afford to buy food, Zambia’s low population density means that they have to make an exhausting journey on foot over tens of kilometres just to reach the marketplace.
When WFP Food-for-Work beneficiaries were recently asked whether they would prefer to be paid in cash for their labour, they responded that they preferred food as they would have nowhere to buy food with the money.
Zambia also has one of the highest adult prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS in the world – 21 percent.