zambia wheat

Presence of High or unique terrestrial biodiversity

Risk overview

Labor and Working Conditions
Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Natural Resource Management

Commodity Overview

Production volume (FAO)

Zambia produced over 273,000 metric tons of Wheat in 2014. This is an increase in production of nearly 36% from the previous year.


  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. "FAOSTAT."

Average Yield

National yield averages for Zambian wheat reached 71,500 hectograms per hectare in 2014. This is almost double the global average at 33,000 hg/ha.


  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. "FAOSTAT."

Region(s) of production

Production mainly occurs in the Central Province (49.5%), Lusaka (24%), the Copper Belt (14.3%), and the Southern Province (12.1%).


  • Zambia Data Portal. “Agriculture Statistics” 2014. Knoema.

Export volume and major markets (FAO)

The most recent statistics reveal that Zambia exported just under 2,000 metric tons of Wheat in 2013. Virtually all of Wheat exports are sold to Zimbabwe.


  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. "FAOSTAT."

Import volume and major markets (FAO)

Zambia imported a minimal amount of wheat in 2013.


  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. "FAOSTAT."

Production systems

Zambian Wheat is produced mostly on large mechanized commercial farms. The National Union for Small Scale Farmers of Zambia (NUSFAZ) has made a push to incentivize small scale farmers to participate in the national export market.


  • Eroarome Martin Aregheore; Food and Agricultre Organization. "Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profiles: Zambia". Accessed September 26, 2017.

  • Times of Zambia. 2015. "Promote Wheat Production."

Commodity Disruption of Ecosystem Services

According to the Water Risk Filter developed by WWF, wheat production areas in Zambia experience a relatively low physical water risk. Overlap occurs on drought prone areas (LusakaCentral Province, and Southern Province),  is a moderate threat to biodiversity, and little access to drinking water and sanitation.


  • The Water Risk Filter. World Wildlife Fund.

Disruption of Community Resource Access

While Wheat production is the not the main driver for high deforestation rates in Zambia, regulation of water flow and hydropower is said to be damaged when forests are cleared. 60% of Zambians live below the international poverty line. This fuels land clearing practices as citizens look to charcoal collection and crop cultivation as a means for livelihood; and, ultimately degrades soils of precious nutrients.


  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2017. "Groundbreaking land use survey to support reversal of deforestation in Zambia."

Extent of in-country processing

There are a small handful of milling companies and locations in Zambia. Most milling is for national consumption (export of wheat is less than 1% of Zambian production). Small scale producers sell directly to millers; whereas large scale production typically have their own milling operations.


  • Agrivision. 2012. "A Staple Food Producer in Zambia."

  • Meas Consultancy and Training Services, Ltd. (Feb. 2011). Wheat Value Chain Study, Final Report. Commissioned by Agricultural Consultative Forum.

Major uses of commodity

Wheat in Zambia is used mainly for human consumption where, in the milling process, it is ground in to cereals, flour, and feed. Increased rainfall in the 2016-2017 growing season suggests that wheat will be available to sell on the export markets.


  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2017. "Global Information and Early Warning System | Country Briefs: Zambia."

Commodity-specific regulatory structure

The Seventh National Development Plan 2017 - 2021 of the Ministry of National Development and Planning of Zambia has focused on the agricultural sector to diversify in the economy and direct it away from a reliance on copper and cobalt. An emphasis placed on "value addition through development of complete value chains" across nationally produced agriculture, is outlined in this plan. The plan indicates that it will attempt to increase farmers' income and to increase agricultural outputs. Also, it seeks to gain an advantage in the organics market by promoting a low usage of chemical fertilizer. An national Environmental Council was established per The Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Act, with a specific representative from the Ministry that is responsible for agriculture.


  • Ministry of National Development Planning. 2017. "Seventh National Development Plan | 2017 - 2021."

  • Convention on Biological Diversity. "National CHM for the Republic of Zambia."

Commodity Driven Land Acquisition

Zambia has a total of 34 Large Scale Land Acquisition agreements which represents just under 2% (roughly 400,000 hectares) of total agricultural land. Top foreign investors include IndiaChina, and South Africa. Zambia's Ministry of Lands seeks to implement a National Titling Program. A significant portion of Zambians live in informal settlements with little to no documentation regarding land tenure and occupancy certification. Coupled with an expansion of wheat production, Zambia attempts to balance supporting their local economy built upon the foundations of its residents. Also, the government has been accused of grabbing land and either never fully developing it or not holding investors accountable.


  • Land Matrix. 2016. "Large Scale Land Acquisitions Profile: Zambia."

  • World Bank. 2017. "Land Documentation in Zambia: A Comparison of Approaches and Relevance for the National Land Titling Program."

Presence of Negative Media or Advocacy Attention

Media attention in Zambian wheat production is relatively positive. Most coverage focuses on expansion in the global markets, year to year environmental impacts and climate stresses, and controlling worm infestations.


Certification status (in-country)

The EU Organic Labeling and Global GAP are available for wheat certification standards. Also, the Organic Producers and Processors Association of Zambia (OPPAZ) is a cooperative membership association that ensures quality of product and sustainability of farms.


  • Organic Producers and Proccessors Association of Zambia. ""

  • Global Gap. Approved Certification Bodies.


The Zambian Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE) trading platforms seeks to reduce price manipulations and suspicions in the food value chain. The Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives of Zambia also oversees import and export trade.


  • Zambian Agricultural Commodity Exchange.

  • U.S. AID. 2009. "Staple Foods Value Chain Analysis | Country Report - Zambia."


Some key stakeholders in Zambia wheat include: The Grain Traders Association of Zambia, ZAMACE, the EU Organic labeling and GLOBALG.A.P. certification, as well as the Organic Producers and Processors Association of Zambia (OPPAZ) which promotes certifications for producers of organic products.,, Zambeef is one of the biggest producers of wheat in Zambia.