ZAMBIA – The World Food Programme (WFP) has approved a five-year US$76 million Country Strategic Plan to significantly boost food security in Zambia.

The 2019-2024 Country Strategic Plan, endorsed last week at the Board’s annual meeting in Rome, Italy, will formally come into effect on 1st July, reports Lusaka Times.

During the five year period, the plan will seek to address among other things the root causes of malnutrition and build the capacities and resilience of smallholder farmers.

The Plan further seeks improve responses to crises and shocks, including those caused by climate change and strengthen government-run social protection systems.

Through the process of rigorous consultation with the government, donors and others, the CSP will see a strategic shift in WFP’s support from localised, micro-level schemes to holistic, integrated programmes.

The programmes will tap the comparative advantages of state institutions, development partners, civil society, the private sector, farmers, consumers and other key stakeholders to achieve national impact.

According to the news outlet, almost half of the Zambian population are unable to meet their minimum caloric requirements while 40% of children under five are stunted.

However, Minister of Agriculture, Michael Katambo, said that the country has made significant investments in food security in recent years which has yielded positive results, including bumper harvests and shorter lean seasons.

Despite the efforts, he noted that a lot still needs to be done to bridge the food insecurity gap that will ensure all Zambians, including women and children, have access to adequate nutritious food.

Mr. Katambo also commended the CSP’s transformative approach by promoting a shift towards nationally-owned solutions.

Jennifer Bitonde, WFP Representative in Zambia, cited the strategic objectives of the CSP will include; improving and strengthening the livelihood resilience of smallholder farmers and expanding government nutrition programmes.

In addition, the programme will also focus on bolstering the capacities of national systems to deliver social protection, including school meals and facilitating the provision of immediate food aid.

According to a statement issued by the World Food programme in Zambia, the Plan is closely aligned with the 7th National Development Plan and Vision 2030.

Climate change induced drought and flooding is estimated to have cost the country’s economy an estimated US$13.8 billion in losses over the past 30 years.