A new report published by various Norwegian agencies argues that Zambia's poorest farmers have been left behind by Government and World Bank support for contract farming and poor access to adequate inputs:
Zambia is quite capable of growing enough food to feed its population. The problem that the poor are too poor to buy food and that farmers do not have access to adequate inputs to raise their productivity. Agricultural policy in Zambia - of the government and the World Bank - is geared more to the better off farmers than the majority of vulnerable, hungry smallholders. Governments have taken only minimal steps to develop competitive markets that might deliver inputs to farmers at lower prices while the latest farmers are bypassed both by very limited fertilizer subsidies - since they cannot afford them - and the promotion of contract farming, which is geared towards the better-off farmers. With massively reduced extension services -not to mention poor health care and limited access to safe water - farmers have been left to themselves, perhaps to go to the wall, as a matter of policy.