ACT Appeal Zambia - Food Deficit Emergency - AFZA-22 (rev.1)


Appeal Target: US$ 2,304,841
Balance Requested from ACT Network: US$ 944,793

Geneva, 22 January 2003

Dear Colleagues,

The Lutheran World Federation - Zambia Christian Refugee Service(LWF/ZCRS) is revising their relief program in the Eastern Province of the country to also address the high level of malnutrition especially among the children through the provision of High Energy Protein Supplements. The assistance will target the districts of Chama, Lundazi, Katete, Chadiza, and Chipata where the organisation is already involved with relief food distribution with the World Food Programme. In addition, LWF/ZCRS will distribute non-food items to the most vulnerable families in the same districts. The items will include soap, blankets, clothes, baby layettes, and school kits. The appeal will also try to address the issue of food security through small scale conservation farming.

The ban by the government of all GMO grain in the country meant a drastic shortfall of relief maize as most of the relief grain brought into the country by WFP was GMO. As desperate efforts were made to source non-GMO maize, LWF decided it was crucial for them to raise resources to buy non-GMO maize for distribution in their areas of responsibility. If they could not do that it was feared that the seed intended for planting would be consumed. The current cropping season has so far shown discouraging signs as there was a very long dry spell in the month of December causing wilting of the young crops. At the same time, short-term maturing seeds were not available to carry out replanting by the farmers. Drought resistant crops such as cassava were not sufficiently available in the eastern part of the country and therefore, in order to plant such crops, cuttings had to be obtained from the north western part of the country, a distance of over 1,000 kilometres.

Although the Christian Council of Zambia (CCZ) verbally indicated to the ACT Co-ordinating Office that they had effected some changes to their programs in the appeal, they are yet to submit a revised proposal for the appeal. A further revision of this appeal is therefore foreseen in the not too distance future.

Project Completion Date:

LWF - 31 July 2003

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested

Total Target US$
Appeal Targets
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd.
Balance Requested from ACT Network

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
PO Box 2600
1211 Geneva 2

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

For further information: ACT Web Site address:

Thor-Arne Prois
Director, ACT


  • Lutheran World Federation - Zambia Christian Refugee Service (LWF/ZCRS)


The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has been in Zambia since 1966. LWF implemented an emergency food relief project in Zambia between 1984-1988; again from 1992 -1996 under the Africa Drought Response (ADR) programme in the Eastern Province to alleviate the effects of the severe droughts of the eighties and nineties. It is currently implementing the third phase of an emergency food relief project started early this year in the Eastern Province in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) with the blessings of the Zambian government following a national emergency aid declaration. The third phase of the emergency food relief project in the same province is from the period July 2002 to March 2003.

LWF/ZCRS has also established a track record in rendering emergency relief and humanitarian aid to refugees and is currently the lead-implementing partner at Meheba, Mayukwayukwa and Ukwimi Refugee Settlements. Apart from emergency relief and refugee work, LWF/ZCRS has been involved in resettling indigenous Zambians in Ukwimi (Eastern Province) and in long term Rural Community Development in four (4) districts of the Eastern Province.

The Food Deficit Emergency Relief Project is being implemented in co-operation and partnership with the Government and World Food Programme. WFP is providing most of the required basic maize food except for transport between the extended distribution points and the distribution sites in the beneficiary villages.



The rural communities in Zambia are facing critical food shortages following poor maize harvests as a result of too much rain during the 2000/2001-rain season which caused water logging and soil nutrient leaching; and a disastrous crop failure in the 2001/2002 agriculture season. A total of 23 districts were badly affected by crop failure in the 2000/2001 crop season. In response to the crop failure in 2000/2001 LWF in partnership with WFP distributed food to the district of Chama. This initial phase of the emergency food distribution was planned for the period January to March 2002 with a target of 352 metric tons of maize to be distributed in Chama. Of the 23 districts that were badly affected during 2000/2001, ten of the districts also experienced a crop failure in 2001/2002 making a consecutive two-year crop failure. These ten districts are Chama, Mambwe, Chadiza, Nyimba, Luangwa, Namwala, Itezhi-tezhi, Kazungula, Sesheke and Senenga. During the extended WFP food distribution for the period April- July 2002, LWF intervention was extended to three other districts namely, Petauke, Lundazi, and Katete. The third phase of the WFP Food Distribution in partnership with NGOs covers the period July to March 2003. LWF will distribute 20,177 metric tons in the Eastern Province during the third phase from July 2002 to March 2003.

The disastrous agricultural season hit at the time when communities were already stressed with socio-economic pressures that for some years were hindering the realisation of food security. Moreover, the critical food levels have forced people to consume part of their saved seed stock thereby eroding the capacity for more food production in the coming year.

Background to the Problem of Food Insecurity

In Zambia food insecurity has arisen due to a number of interrelated factors both social and economic. Unfavourable climatic conditions are the main contributory factors for the 2001/2002 crop failures.

The liberalisation of the agriculture sector has led to a disproportionately high increase in the price of farming inputs. Whereas in the past the government had a leading role in terms of input distribution, produce storage and marketing, the present scenario has dislodged the peasantry who account for the production of more than 60% of the country's staple food - maize - out of their negotiating power position in the agro-business. In an economy driven by the principle of free trade, the high cost of inputs, inorganic fertilisers and farming implements has reduced the accessibility peasants had to farming inputs. Most rural dwellers do not have disposable income to meet such high costs, to ultimately improve their productivity.

Even though maize is the main food and cash crop accounting for 50-70% of the cultivated land area in Zambia, and as much as 85% of the country's total crop production, the food security situation in the country has not been good. Reports of hunger from all over the country have been very common in the 1990's. For instance, in 1998, only 729,000 metric tons of maize was available as compared to the national requirement of 1,312,000 metric tons. During the same year, the deficits of rice and wheat were estimated at 29,000 and 31,000 metric tons respectively.

The growing trend in food insecurity in Zambia is therefore evident from the marked decline in production of maize during the 1990's. Indicators of this trend include the fact that during the 1985-89 period, per capita production of grain stood at 235 Kilograms, which drastically dropped to 173 Kilograms during the 1990 to 1995 period. Imports of maize during the same period dramatically increased from 161,000 during the 1985-89 period to 239,000 tons during the 1990-95 period.

Particularly worrying, however, is the fact that the decline in maize production has been accompanied by an equally sharp decline in the consumption of maize in the country. The consumption of maize declined from 153.2 Kilograms per capita in 1990/91 down to 123.3 Kilograms per capita in 1996/97 season. At the same time consumption of other foods either remained constant, declined or only increased marginally during the same period. Most homes have been going without adequate food over extended periods of time.

According to a survey conducted by the Programme Against Malnutrition (PAM) project in November 1997, on average, households were having only one meal per day. It was during the same year that 28,390 metric tons of relief food was required to meet the needs of the affected people.

The vagaries of weather have been among the factors that have contributed to the poor performance of the agriculture sector. For instance, the 1991/92 drought that affected most parts of the country led to the decline in crop production. Again during the 1997/98 season, 35 districts in 7 provinces (Southern, Western, Eastern, Northern, Lusaka, Central and North-western), were affected either by floods or drought. Many households lost their crops and about 888,611 people were reported to require food relief assistance during that season.

The maize production output which has averaged below 15 million bags x 90 kg since 1997/98 season appears to tie in with some of the attendant difficulties which has characterised the agriculture sector in the later years. Prominent among these has been the stoppage of production at the Kafue Nitrogen Chemicals (NCZ) fertilizer factory and the effect on the inadequate and untimely distribution of imported fertilisers especially to remote areas of the country. The result has been a marked decline in maize production from 12,440,774 x 90 kg bags in 1990 to 2,181,303 x 90 kg bags in 2001. This shows that the amount of grain in 2001 was not enough to feed the 10.3 million people in Zambia. This has compelled the government to import maize and maize meal.

A survey conducted by LWF/RCDM in Lundazi in 1999 shows that food insecurity (maize) in rural areas ensues when households exhaust their food stocks well before the next harvest, (usually at the onset of rains) and only restock their food reserves after April. Thus, in a period lasting up to six months, a greater proportion of villagers are in dire need of food. In order to survive, they resort to eating wild fruits and roots, honey and unripe and ripe mangoes. By July 2001, Zambia had a cereal food deficit of 150,000 metric tons.

Current Situation

The situation is now quite serious and is worsening by the day. The result is an increase in the number of households going without food for days. Very few people have food in their granaries. At milling plants less and less activity is observed implying a reduction in maize stocks at household level. In areas along the border (i.e. Katete District) people continue crossing the border into Mozambique to sell their labour so that they can buy food. It is reported though that they are excessively exploited. In many cases this situation has worsened the vulnerability of women who in most cases have been left in the villages to fend for children without much support from the men folk.

Maize grain marketing is still taking place but at a very small scale. The market price of maize now ranges between K800-K1,200 per kilogram. The prevailing price for rice is K2,100 per kilogram. More terrifying are reports of deteriorating levels of health especially among children being received at LWF offices in the districts. The number of child malnutrition cases being reported at Rural Health Centres has also risen in the Province.

As the food crisis worsens, the rural populace in the Eastern Province is coping in different ways. The consumption of maize bran where available, wild fruit and tubers is a common coping strategy as the crisis deepens. Some have resorted to consumption of ripe mangoes as a main meal. Currently, in areas where mangoes are difficult to access, people have no option but to adopt a strategy of reducing the number of meals to one or sometimes nothing per day. People continue to sell family assets such as goats and chickens so that they generate some income to purchase maize or maize meal. The current situation is worse than it was reported late last year.

The Government decision to ban the importation of GMO products in the country has resulted in a drastic shortfall (almost 70% in some districts) in food distribution by the World Food Programme, whose main source of food was GMO maize. All stocks of World Food Programme GMO maize stocked in warehouses in the drought-affected areas could not be distributed because of the ban.

The situation necessitated LWF's intervention in procuring maize grain for consumption. If this is not done, the seed intended for food security would be eaten. It has been difficult for LWF to implement its original objective of empowerment for better farming practices and coping strategies when people are starving. Already the people in these affected areas have eaten their seed reserves; and peasant farmers who have cassava trees have reported that these are being uprooted at night and stolen by others for food - further reducing last years efforts in food security. Community participation for the construction of shallow wells has not been possible because communities spend endless hours looking for food.

Through the ACT Network, LWF-Mozambique has donated two vehicles - Land Rover 110 Pick Up and Toyota Hilux Pick Up. These vehicles will be used for monitoring after completion of registration and repairs due to condition of the vehicles. Norwegian Church Aid has donated five ex-army trucks. After completion of registration, these vehicles will be used for transporting grain and seed from the district warehouses to the beneficiaries. NCA has further made available a grant of USD 63,602 earmarked for Training in Conservation Farming - some training sessions have already been conducted. DCA/Danida provided a grant of 30 MT of beans and 180 MT of HEPs (High Energy Protein food) which have been distributed to severely malnourished children through the Rural Health Centres in Chadiza, Chipata and Katete Districts. Diakonisches Werk of the Evangelical Churches in Germany (Diakonie Emergency Aid) signed an agreement with LWF on 26 November 2002 in which they are contributing to the securing of food in 4 districts in Eastern Zambia i.e. Chama, Lundazi, Chipata and Chadiza to the sum of 410,000 Euro. This will provide for 168MT of maize grain (800 personsx7mthsx30kg/mth), 2,640,000 cassava cuttings, 96,000 sweet potato vines and 800 hoes to benefit 800 households. EuronAid, through a Consortium of Zambian International Agencies, namely CARE, CRS and LWF, have provided for 4,000 beneficiaries in Katete and 4,000 beneficiaries in Petauke through LWF. The LWF grant provides for the following: 8,000 each of hoes and pangas; 40 MT beans; 320 MT maize seed; 40 MT sorghum; 16 MT cowpeas; 40 MT groundnuts; 40MT millet; 40 MT sunflower; 8,000 x 50kg bag cassava cuttings; 8,000 x 50kg bags sweet potato vines; 8,000 x 25kg bags Compund D fertilizer and 8,000 x 25kg bags of Urea, delivered to the beneficiaries. The Lutheran World Relief, Material Resources Programme has donated 400 bales of men's clothing; 250 bales of women's clothing; 100 bales of children's clothing; 300 bales of sweaters; 300 bales of blankets; 1,250 bales of quilts; 400 cartons of school kits; 300 cartons of health kits; 300 cartons of layettes and 100 cartons of soap - these donations will be shared (50% each) between the Refugee beneficiaries and the Food Deficit beneficiaries.

As at 3 December 2002 the Eastern Province has not yet received any substantial rains for farmers to plant their crops. This means that if the situation does not improve, acute hunger will still continue to haunt the population. This also means that most farmers have not started planting because the moisture content of the soil is too low. The hybrid maize seed variety provided under EuronAid grant will not yield expected results if planted under these conditions. Drought resistant crops such as cassava and sweet potato have to be transported from North Western and Western Provinces to the Eastern Province covering a distance of over 1,000kms under very hot conditions. This reduces the quality of the items by the time they reach their destination, thus necessitating contingency supplies. Under these conditions, there is still need for food assistance.

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

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