Efficient agricultural markets and trade can encourage agriculture-led economic growth and food security in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). However, ineffective policies, weak institutions, and inadequate infrastructure hamper efforts to move toward a market-oriented economy in Zambia, like other countries in SSA. Zambia has the potential to become the breadbasket of the region given the country’s abundant water supplies, large tracts of arable farmland, and proximity to large neighbouring food-deficit markets. Nevertheless, agricultural markets remain challenged by numerous factors such as frequent and often ad-hoc agriculture and trade policies, high transaction costs, and the poor state of infrastructure. These challenges lead to thin or missing markets, inadequate access to finance, and high production and marketing risks among others. As a result, many farmers are net buyers of food and do not adequately participate in input and output markets. The rapid rise in population, urbanization and average incomes leading to high demand for diverse food commodities present great prospects for smallholder farmers to earn higher incomes from increased participation in the domestic markets and regional trade.
The Institute will focus on key value chains that have potential to reduce poverty among rural smallholder households. These include; horticulture, fisheries and livestock, grains, oil seeds and other emerging value chains. The outputs from this strategic area will result in; increased private sector-led market development, increased smallholder market participation, and changes in government trade policies.