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    Zambia is a landlocked country in south central Africa. It shares borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania to the north, with Malawi to the east, Mozambique to the southeast, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the South and Angola to the West. The country extends at its maximum about 821 km from north to south and 1,385 km from east to west, covering a total area of 752,614 km2. Although lying within the Tropic Zone, much of Zambia enjoys a pleasant subtropical climate because of the high altitude. The rainy season runs from November to April.

    Agricultural sector

    Some 70 percent of Zambia's working population is engaged in agriculture, largely subsistence farming. The sector accounts for 20 % of GDP. Principal crops are maize, cassava, fresh vegetables, sugar cane, wheat and groundnuts. Beef and dairy cattle are raised for domestic use. Major export crops include cotton, tobacco, maize, sugar, green coffee, peas, beans and fresh vegetables (FAO, 14.07.2006). The agricultural sector remains underdeveloped and vulnerable to weather fluctuations. High transportation costs resulting from long distances to seaports pose a constraint to agricultural exports.

    Overview of organic farming

    A recent survey reports significant increases in organic production in Zambia. Accordingly, about 2,500 Zambian farmers cultivate 187,694 hectares of land using organic methods. This accounts for 0.53 % of the total agricultural area (IFOAM & FiBL 2006). The data include fully converted land as well as "in conversion" land area. Having a lot of virgin arable land, a favourable climate and still reasonable low labour costs, Zambia continues to show bright prospects for further developing its organic sector. However, in order to compete with surrounding countries, more investment in local infrastructure is required.

    Key organic products

    The bulk of the organic production area in Zambia is virgin land for wild harvesting of products such as honey, mushrooms and indigenous tree seed oil. The remainder is commercial land, which is used for the production of export vegetables, herbs, spices, medical plants, groundnuts, sesame, green manures, soy beans and maize (IFOAM 2003). Basically, all organic exports from Zambia are destined for Europe.

    The network

    The Organic Producers and Processors Association of Zambia (OPPAZ), which was set up in 1999 as a body affiliated to the Zambian National Farmers Union, promotes the organic movement in Zambia. It also developed a technical advisory service for its members. In general, it provides marketing, certification and technical support to producers from the smallholder sector as well as to large-scale commercial enterprises.

    The main certifiers are Ecocert and the Soil association. OPPAZ has set up an initiative to develop a certification label for the national market (IFOAM 2003).

    Organic Producers and Processors Association of Zambia (OPPAZ)
    Coordinator: Patrick Mungaila
    Leopards Hill Road 14
    P.O. Box 35317
    Lusaka, Zambia
    Tel.: +260-1-263070
    Fax: +260-1-265 208
    Email: oas@organic.org.zm
    Website: http://www.manobi.sn/op/oppaz/

    External Support

    The Zambia organic agriculture sector has been receiving support from the following external organisations amongst others:

    CARE International
    Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
    German Technical Cooperation GTZ
    International Trade Centre (ITC)
    Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD)
    Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)
    Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP)
    U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) 


    • IFOAM & FiBL (2006): The World of Organic Agriculture. Statistics and Emerging Trends 2006. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn & Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, Frick, pp. 27-35.
    • IFOAM (2003): Organic and Like-Minded Movements in Africa. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn, pp.102-108.
    • FAO, 14.07.2006: Key Statistics of Food and Agriculture External Trade. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Statistics Division. URL: www.fao.org/es/ess/toptrade/trade.asp?dir=exp&country=3&ryear=2004 and www.fao.org/es/ess/top/country.html?lang=en 
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