The World Food Programme governing Executive Board has approved a five-year, US$76 million Country Strategic Plan to significantly boost food security in Zambia, which has one of the world’s highest malnutrition rates.
The 2019-2024 Country Strategic Plan, endorsed last week at the Board’s annual meeting in Rome, Italy, will formally come into effect on 1st July, and seeks, among other things, to better address the root causes of malnutrition, improve responses to crises and shocks, including those caused by climate change.
The Plan further seeks to build the capacities and resilience of smallholder farmers and strengthen government-run social protection systems.More than half of Zambians live below the poverty datum line, surviving on less than 1dollar 90 cents a day while almost half are unable to meet their minimum caloric requirements and 40% of children under five are stunted.
Drought and flooding induced by climate change have cost the economy an estimated US$13.8 billion in losses over the past 30 years.
Through the process of rigorous consultation with the government, donors and others, the CSP will see a strategic shift in WFP’s support from localised, micro-level schemes to holistic, integrated programmes that tap the comparative advantages of state institutions, development partners, civil society, the private sector, farmers, consumers and other key stakeholders to achieve national impact.
According to a statement issued by the World Food programme in Zambia, the Plan is closely aligned with the 7th National Development Plan and Vision 2030.
While noting that investments in food security in recent years has yielded positive results, including bumper harvests and shorter lean seasons, Minister of Agriculture Michael Katambo told the WFP Board that a lot still needs to be done to ensure that all Zambians, including women and children, have access to adequate nutritious food.Mr. Katambo also commended the CSP’s transformative approach by promoting a shift towards nationally-owned solutions.
Jennifer Bitonde, WFP Zambia Representative, cited the strategic objectives of the CSP, aimed at facilitating the provision of immediate food needs to refugees; improving and expanding government nutrition programmes; strengthening the livelihood resilience of smallholders and bolstering the capacities of national systems to deliver social protection, including school meals.
WFP has worked in Zambia for more than 50 years and in 2018, it directly assisted 270,000 people, including schoolchildren, smallholders and refugees, and indirectly supported 640,000 households that received social cash transfers.
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