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Thematic Groups - December 2004

Zambia: Informal Agriculture Donor Group becomes a member of the UN System Network on Rural Development and Food Security

The members of the Informal Agriculture Donor Group chaired by the FAO representation in Zambia agreed during a recent meeting to join the UN System Network on Rural Development and Food Security.

A diversity of coordination mechanisms are active in Zambia and work in various areas such as crop assessment and government advisory. The Informal Agriculture Donor Group discusses government policies and programmes relating to rural development and food security in Zambia. Its membership includes: the Dutch, Finnish, German, Irish, Norwegian and Swedish embassies, the European Union, the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Japanese Cooperation Agency (JICA), the United Kingdom Cooperation Agency (DFID), the Zambian government, the World Bank, the World Food Programme, UNDP and FAO.

During the group's last meeting, members discussed the results of the crop forecasting figures for 2003-2004 noting an increase in crop diversification. Progress achieved regarding the land policies was also discussed. There are several policy issues that have been identified to date, on which recommendations will be made. Members identified the need to update the existing data through a Land Information System. In addition, the Zambian Ministry of Land is spearheading the development of Farm Blocks which would mix major farms with commercial and smallholder lots. In this sense, members recommended that the focus should be on improving security of tenure in traditional systems rather than on wholesale conversion of traditional land to leasehold tenure.

For more information on the activities of this group please contact the FAO representation in Zambia: FAOZM@fao.org