Smallholder farmers work a field with cattle in Eastern Province, Zambia.

Improving agricultural and food systems through evidence-based policy

Climate Resilient Agri-Food Systems (CREATE)

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  • Commissioning Party

    German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

  • Country
  • Lead executing agency


  • Overall term

    2023 to 2026

  • Products and expertise

    Rural development

Small maize plants in the soil


Zambia has fertile land, abundant water resources and great potential to diversify its economy with a wide range of agricultural products. Nevertheless, the agricultural sector shrank between 2010 and 2019.

Half of the labour force works in agriculture. As smallholder farmers, they mostly practice arable and livestock farming in order to provide for themselves and their families. Highly dependent on rain, smallholders keep their animals on large areas with few resources and produce 85 per cent of the agricultural products in Zambia.

Women are usually responsible for staple foods, while men generate products that can be sold on the market. This division is based on traditional gender roles, with nutrition considered to be a women’s issue. However, there is no underlying scientific evidence: Nutrient-poor white maize accounts for 80 per cent of all food and is grown on almost two thirds of agricultural land. Environmentally friendly and long-term systems are often lacking.


Selected governmental institutions in the agricultural and food sector develop better policy based on evidence. This promotes climate-adapted smallholder agriculture that is geared towards the population’s food requirements, generates income and supports gender equality.

A smallholder farmer irrigates a field.


The project works to build up competencies at the Zambian Ministry of Agriculture and the National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC). It advises on formulating policy recommendations based on successful practices and innovations in order to disseminate them regionally and nationally.

The project also proposes processes that enable successful cooperation between the two partners across departments. The focus is on management, coordination, financing and better communication.

Last update: December 2023