Agricultural Development Economics


Cropping systems diversification to enhance productivity and adaptation to climate change in Zambia
Economic and Policy Analysis of Climate Change (EPIC) Team, FAO
Publication date
Spatial disconnect between cropping system diversification and climate risk. In Zambia, farmers residing in areas with low and medium rainfall risk are more likely to adopt diversified systems than farmers in areas with lower rainfall and greater rainfall variability. Lack of diversification in high risk regions poses a significant threat to livelihood resilience in those regions. Diverse cropping systems improve productivity and resilience. Increased level of diversification is associated to more stable crop income, when compared to maize monocropping. However, farmers facing land fragmentation, weakness of private input and output markets and uncertainty from the public policies are less likely to adopt these systems. Strengthen investment in the private input and output markets. Competitive input and output markets is an important driver of diversification in Zambia. Identifying policy options to improve private market conditions, such as improved predictability of agricultural trade policy and promoting stable macro-economic conditions, can help support Zambia’s diversification objectives. Secure land tenure and land access. Farmers adopting cropping systems of three or more crops hold, on average, 2 hectares of land more than farmers adopting two-crop or monocropping systems in the same areas. Land policies that support farmers’ access to land, now and in the future, is a critical element of crop diversification.