Rural women account for more than 25 per cent of the total food produced in Zambia.
Photo: Jörg Boethling

18.01.2012

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With the support of international NGOs, Zambia’s government is making an effort to improve the conditions that rural women are living in. However, it is going to take a long time before the well-meant measures take effect – also because of HIV/Aids.

With almost two-thirds of the entire population, women are an important factor in the economic development of Zambia, especially in the agricultural sub-sector. Rural women account for more than 25 percent of the total food produced in the country. For example, of the total 12 million metric tons of maize which is produced every year, female farmers contribute about 3.8 million tons through their small-scale and peasant farming efforts. They are also engaged in horticultural, livestock, food processing and other agro-business activities. 

Government support –  who benefits?
The government has been supporting these activities since 1992. For example, through the government-sponsored Farmers Input Support Programme (FISP), rural women have been benefiting from a credit and subsidised system which assists them with low-priced agricultural inputs such as fertiliser and seeds. All they have to do is to form co-operatives or join existing ones from where they can access the farming inputs. The FISP assistance per individual female farmer is a fertiliser pack of eight 50 kg bags of basal and top-dressing fertiliser plus a 10 kg bag of maize seed for one hectare of land under cultivation.

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