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2 Zambia’s agriculture

2 Zambia’s agriculture sector provides the main support for the rural economy. This assertion is based on the fact that about forty nine percent of the Zambian population depends on agriculture, primarily through smallholder production for their livelihoods and employment (CSO, 2014). Notwithstanding this fact, in 2015 the sector contributed 8.5 percent to the GDP and approximately 9.6 percent of national export earnings (CSO, 2015; World Bank, 2016). The potential for agricultural growth in Zambia is staggering. With over 750,000 km 2 of land, massive endowments in surface and sub-surface water resources, and a population density of just 19.24 people per km 2 , Zambia is uniquely blessed with the natural endowments to become the breadbasket of the southern and central African region (Figure 1). In the early stages of development, the growth of the agricultural sector is key for achieving development objectives (Diao et al., 2010). Therefore, as a developing country, growth in the agricultural sector is the clearest avenue through which sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction can be achieved in Zambia. Figure 1: Rainfall, Soil, and Crop Suitability by Agro-Ecological Region Source: Author’s illustration using data from Ministry of Agriculture

15 Chapter 2 Structure of the Zambian Agricultural Sector

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