Zambia - Country Commercial Guide
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The Zambian agriculture sector comprises crops, livestock, and fisheries.  There are three broad categories of farmers:  small-scale, medium, and large-scale.  Small-scale farmers represent the vast majority (approximately 90 percent) of Zambia’s agricultural producers and are generally subsistence producers of staple foods with occasional marketable surplus.  Medium-scale farmers produce maize and a few other cash crops for the market.  Large-scale farmers produce various crops for the local and export markets.  Agriculture contributes about 19 percent to GDP and employs three quarters of the population.  Domestic production is comprised of crops such as maize, sorghum, millet, and cassava while exports are driven by sugar, soybeans, coffee, groundnuts, rice, and cotton as well as horticultural produce.  Zambia covers 75 million hectares (752,000 km2), out of which 58 percent (42 million hectares) is classified as medium-to high-potential for agriculture production.  However, only 15 percent of this land is currently under cultivation.  Zambia has ample water resources but has done little to exploit them via investments in irrigation systems, and the majority of farms remain dependent on rain-fed growing cycles.  While the government has typically opposed importation or use of genetically modified organisms (GMO), the National Biosafety Authority in September 2021 granted import permits to two companies for pet foods made from GMO products, spices, tapioca starch, and soya isolates.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects

The Zambian government seeks to promote agriculture as a way to diversify the economy away from an overreliance on copper.  The government is working to develop farm blocks in all ten provinces for large and medium commercial farming, fish farming, and livestock production.  Private equity and other investors are active in this sector.


Agricultural cultivation in Zambia is mostly non-mechanized, and the sector is overwhelmingly rain-fed.  Opportunities include large-scale farming, farm inputs and equipment supply, irrigation systems, agro-processing, and commodity trading.  The sector would benefit from investment in mechanization.


Key government and regulatory agencies:

Ministry of Agriculture

Mulungushi House, Independence Avenue

P. O. Box 50197

Lusaka, Zambia

Tel: +260 211 251 719


Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries

Mulungushi House, Independence Avenue

P. O. Box 35301

Lusaka, Zambia

Tel: +260 211 224 648


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