Zambia’s Copperbelt – an opportunity for agriculture

As part of ASNAPP’s continuous assessments in the fresh produce market, Zambia’s copperbelt has been identified as one of three ‘hot spots’. The other two are Tete (Mozambique) and Windhoek (Namibia).

A tomato trader in the town of Mkushi.


The Copperbelt is the central north province of landlocked Zambia, bordering the DRC. Historically an economically mining based region, it has seen waves of unemployment in response to fluctuations in mining fortunes.

Wealth generated from mining has made this province the most urbanised in the country with the 2nd and 3rd largest cities, but dependency on mining has rendered the area financially vulnerable to fluctuations in the world markets.

A mild climate, abundant water and land resources, and established infrastructure make agricultural development a potential diversification hedging strategy that could improve livelihoods and economic development in the region, especially considering the proximity of the province to DRC’s second largest city of Lubumbashi.

Challenges facing the Copperbelt

Cheap power source
Access to affordable low tech irrigation
Cheap finance for farm development
Lack of technical assistance and production information
Improved varieties
Seasonality (disease, water availability)
Land ownership (no title deeds)
Formal retail sectorTransport costs
Mixed loads
Consistent reliable local supply
Cheap produce in informal sector
Open air marketsInfrastructure (storage, refrigeration)
Formalisation (ruling prices per kg, regulation)
Post harvest handling of fresh produce
Price and volume volatility of fresh produce
Producer and market communication
Informal exportsFormal Marketing Support services
Weak regulatory and service support institutions
Insufficient storage and post harvest quality systems
Bureaucracy (long waiting times at border)

For further information on the assessment, please contact Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products (ASNAPP) South Africa on +27 (0)21 808 2919 or visit

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