Cassava is a staple food in Zambia second only in importance to maize. An estimated thirty percent of Zambians - about 4 million people - consume cassava as part of their staple diet. The majority of these cassava consumers live in the northern part of the country covering Northern, Luapula, Northwestern and Western Provinces and parts of the Copperbelt which are also the main growing and consuming areas of the crop, and have been so since the introduction of cassava to Africa by the early Portuguese travellers and colonists. Production is almost entirely by smallholder farmers whose average cultivated area is less than one hectare. Increasingly, however, production and consumption of cassava is taking place in the southern half of the country where the Zambian Government and NGOs have promoted cassava in response to recurrent cycles of drought which have led to failure of maize, the main staple crop in the region. Demand for cassava for both human and industrial consumption has also grown in the urban and industrial centres of Lusaka and Copperbelt provinces. Cassava production has steadily increased from 139,000 Mt in 1965 to 1,160,853 in 2007/8.
Constraints to Smallholder Participation in Cassava Value Chain Development in Zambia
Poole, N., M. Chitundu, R. Msoni, and I. Tembo. 2010. Constraints to Smallholder Participation in Cassava Value Chain Development in Zambia. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.