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Abstract

Zambia’s population clusters tightly in cities along the north-south line of rail and in the primarily rural areas of Eastern Province (Figure 1). Staple food consumption and purchases are similarly concentrated in these heavily populated clusters (Figures 4 and 5). Across the border, several high-density population centers lie close to the Zambian border — in the copperbelt cities of southern DRC, in the highlands of southern Tanzania, in Malawi and in Zimbabwe (Figure 2). This results in sizeable potential food markets for Zambian farmers across the border in southern DRC and, intermittently, in Zimbabwe and Malawi. Zambia’s staple food production and sales likewise cluster spatially in three main areas: along the line of rail, in the large commercial farming blocks of north-central Zambia, and to a lesser extent in Eastern Province (Figure 6). This spatial clustering offers opportunities for Zambia to benefit from regional trade in food staples. In normal and good harvest years, significant export potential exists in matching the large cereal-producing blocks in north-central Zambia with the nearby copperbelt cities of both Zambia and DRC. Conversely, in years of domestic shortfall, significant import supplies may be available from cross-border farmers and traders in southern Tanzania, northern Mozambique and, in time, Zimbabwe. If Zambian farmers are to invest in the productive capacity necessary to serve these external markets, they will require consistent and predictable trade policies. Figure 1.

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