Action - Feed the Future: The U.S. Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative - Promotion of food security and agriculture - Adult men and women

Programme: Feed the Future: The U.S. Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative

Programme description

Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, is establishing a foundation for lasting progress against global hunger. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth that increases incomes and reduces hunger, poverty, and undernutrition. Feed the Future efforts are driven by country-led priorities and rooted in partnership with governments, donor organizations, the private sector, and civil society to enable long-term success. Feed the Future aims to assist millions of vulnerable women, children, and family members to escape hunger and poverty, while reaching significant numbers of children with highly effective nutrition interventions to prevent stunting and child mortality.

Over the next five years in Zambia, Feed the future aims to help an estimated 263,000 vulnerable Zambian women, children and family members—mostly smallholder farmers—escape hunger and poverty. More than 173,000 children will be reached with services to improve their nutrition and prevent stunting and child mortality. Significant numbers of additional rural populations will achieve improved income and nutritional status from strategic policy engagement and institutional investments.

To meet its objectives, Feed the Future Zambia is making core investments in four key areas:

1. Oilseeds, legumes, maize and horticulture value chains

  • Research on drought-tolerant maize, integrated legume systems, and aflatoxin-reduction in groundnuts
  • Improved marketing and commodity value-addition
  • Peri-urban smallholder horticulture market development through public-private partnerships

2. Enabling Environment

  • Analysis and advocacy to improve agriculture policy
  • Support for development and implementation of a comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme Country Investment Plan

3. Economic Resilience

  • Improving household-level food security
  • Ensuring gender equity
  • Sustainable technologies/conservation agriculture for vulnerable households

4. Nutrition

  • Scaling Up Nutrition(SUN) efforts
  • Strengthened health and nutrition systems
  • Improved vitamin A-rich maize and sweet potatoes for vulnerable groups

Target Regions

Feed the Future is focusing its efforts in two areas: the Eastern Province, with a value chain focus on oilseeds, legumes and maize; and selected peri-urban districts near Lusaka, connecting to Eastern Province, with a particular focus on horticulture. 


Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) process. Zambia’s CAADP Compact was signed in January 2011, and development of the Zambia CAADP Country Investment Plan has begun. Through this Compact the Government of the Republic of Zambia is committed to the following:

  • Agriculture marketing and credit acts
  • Fertilizer distribution reform, e-vouchers
  • Increasing private sector role

Diversification of staple crop production. Diversification of selected staple value chains will:

  • Lead to increased smallholders' productivity of all commodities, including maize
  • Increase income through higher value commodities and access to value-addition and export markets
  • Diversify diets and minimize risk of food scarcity
  • Contribute to a reduction in high rates of child undernutrition

Gender. The Zambia strategy strives to maximize the positive impact on female farmers and ensure equitable benefits for men and women by:

  • Ensuring women can participate in economic opportunities throughout the value chains
  • Preventing women from being displaced from the value chains with increased commercialization  
  • Ensuring farm technologies are appropriate for both men and women

Programme type




Start date:


End date:

Eastern Province
Target group: 
Adult men and women
Implementation details : 

The first set of core investments in the Zambia FTF strategy contributes to systems transformation, with a primary focus on oilseeds and legumes and targeted interventions in the maize value chain, and a secondary focus on horticulture.

Feed the Future Value Chain Investments
USAID/Zambia will have several programs that contribute significantly to upgrading the oilseeds, legumes and maize value chains. This will be accomplished through several planned mechanisms, including: 1) the Production, Finance and Improved Technology Plus program, which is designed to increase food security and decrease hunger through agriculture-led growth and inclusive market access by smallholder farmers; and 2) public-private partnerships including Global Development Alliances (GDAs) to leverage private sector activity and promote market sustainability through private sector models. These efforts will stimulate agricultural growth and significantly contribute to the Millennium Development Goal 1 of halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and suffering from hunger by 2015. The programs will build on previous USAID-funded activities by closely linking efforts to enhance input supply with output markets, promoting value-added rural enterprises linked to selected value chains, and ensuring that women fully benefit from value chain development. One of the challenges of the previous program, given its focus on private sector sustainability, was to ensure female participation. Lessons learned from the successful Production, Finance and Improved Technologies (PROFIT) program, which closes in 2011, will be incorporated into new programs.

Programs will focus specifically on maize and oilseed/legume (particularly, groundnut, soya and sunflower) value chains in Eastern province and horticulture value chains in peri-urban Lusaka. Through this geographic focus, USAID-funded FTF activities will reach up to 25 percent of Zambian men and women smallholder farmers. Maize value chain work will focus on increasing productivity in order to meet food security. Smallholders will be benefit from an integrated approach that provides for maize food security and enables smallholders to diversify into commercial crops.

Illustrative Examples of Value Chain Activities
In-depth analysis of selected value chains. The program will conduct in-depth economic value chain analysis including market (both domestic and export) assessments, competition/profitability analyses, gender analyses, and strategies for Zambian value chains to improve competitiveness in light of market opportunities and constraints.

Value chain finance. Both the demand and supply side of value chain finance will be addressed to increase the competitiveness of selected value chains. Options to increase access to production and processing credit may include insurance, operating leases and expansion of e-banking. Activities to expand access to credit and financial services to both men and women will be assessed and implemented through a variety of mechanisms, partners and tools, including intermediary businesses, credit guarantees, microfinance and commercial banking products oriented to benefit smallholder farmers.

Provide local trade information and services. Local provider(s) of trade information and services will be supported to aid producers’ entry into local, regional and international markets, including sanitary and phytosanitary protocols, import requirements, customs and borders procedures, and contact points. The program will take extra effort to ensure equal access to information for women. The Zambia Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE) will require support that will be gradually phased out, with the goal of achieving sustainability through self-sufficient funding of operations within three years.

Target regional export markets. The program will develop a strategy for targeting profitable export markets for Zambian products initially in the maize, legume and horticulture sectors. USAID/Zambia’s experience thus far has shown that in many cases regional markets provide more opportunities for exporters (particularly smallholders) than more distant international markets. Efforts will be made to ensure both men and women producers can access export markets.

Promote rural enterprise and cooperative development, particularly in value-added processing of selected value chains. Activities will also address marketing constraints faced by smallholder farmers, in particular women. The project will identify key agents that can create rural employment and opportunities for value addition, including cooperatives, traders, processors and agribusinesses that warehouse commodities. Governance, operations and capacity of Zambian organizations and firms that link farmers to value-added markets, including animal feed, high protein products, cooking oil and canned vegetables, will be strengthened. In particular, women-based producer and marketing associations will be organized around selected value chains.

Target population size : 
Overall, an estimated 263,000 vulnerable Zambian women, children, and family members—mostly smallholder farmers—will receive targeted assistance to escape hunger and poverty
Outcome indicator(s): 


M&E system: 

USAID/Zambia will monitor and evaluate programs and activities throughout the strategy period to ensure that those investments are achieving objectives and maximizing returns to investments. Though many of the investments will be managed and monitored primarily by USAID, some investments will originate from other USG agencies and by government, donors, or the private sector. The Zambia CAADP Country Investment Plan will provide a framework for the development of a more comprehensive national effort in agriculture and poverty reduction that will be supported through the USG FTF effort. CAADP monitoring is addressed below. The M&E framework for the USG FTF strategy outlined in this section will be inclusive and involve all government agencies investing in FTF areas, particularly in the FTF priority geographic area, Eastern province.

The geographic focus, co-location of investments, and the timing of the initiation of new investments provide the opportunity to establish a solid impact assessment framework as well. USAID/Zambia’s approach to monitoring and evaluation will be comprised of three components: 1) project-level reporting; 2) performance management/monitoring and evaluation; and, 3) external impact assessment to capture the aggregate impact of all investments and the relative contribution of different interventions to the extent feasible.

The FTF strategy will be implemented primarily through two of the USAID/Zambia CDCS Development Objectives (DO) and will meet the requirements of CDCS Development Objectives: (1) engage in ""rigorous"" impact evaluations; and (2) build local capacity for monitoring and evaluation. The USAID/Zambia Mission has committed to implementing the operational research, managing for results, evaluation and local capacity-building model in its CDCS, and this will apply as well to FTF.

The FTF Performance Monitoring Plan will include indicators measuring progress towards achieving results at all levels. For each indicator, the data source and methodology, baseline, targets, and a calendar of performance management tasks, including a schedule for data collection, will be included. The selection of indicators to include in the PMP will be driven by ongoing and planned activities, the availability of baseline, and provisions made to ensure availability of data for the reference reporting period.

To monitor performance, the Mission will establish baselines and collect data for standard and customized indicators to track whether desired results are occurring and whether performance is on target. All programs receiving FTF resources will be expected to develop monitoring and evaluation strategies that are consistent with the USG Zambia’s FTF framework.

Initial stakeholder workshops will be held for the purposes of

  1. Reaching an agreement on indicator definitions to ensure consistency;
  2. Defining and communicating project-specific collection and reporting responsibilities;
  3. Generating an understanding of the higher-level objectives of the strategy; and the relative contributions by the specific projects,
  4. Communicating periodicity and responsibility for reporting. Each project will report on appropriate standard and custom performance indicators, which will be aggregated across the entire investment portfolio. Data quality assessments will be conducted regularly to ensure consistency and completeness. Data collected through monitoring will be used for periodic reports to stakeholders.

Given that FTF has the intention to work with a broader range of partners, including local organizations, it is expected that some partners will have more limited reporting capacity. These organizations will need greater assistance, and it may be necessary to delegate the responsibility for some monitoring and reporting to external entities.

For higher level objectives, tracking performance will be beyond the manageable interest of individual projects. In particular, changes in incomes, nutritional status, and some community-level variables among others will be more appropriately measured across the program areas. The FTF Team is developing a consortium of stakeholders to assess existing data sources, and intends to identify an external entity to coordinate baseline and periodic data collection for specific indicators.
An FTF M&E plan will be finalized by the end of Fiscal Year 2011, outlining all indicators and the reporting responsibilities by all USAID/Zambia’s partners. Key FTF required indicators to be tracked and reported are listed in Annex B. Additional project-specific and other relevant indicators not included in the FTF required indicators will be added. It is important to note that all appropriate indicators will be sex-disaggregated.

In line with the new evaluation policy, the FTF program intends to conduct a number of performance evaluations and impact evaluations. Evaluations of two programs closing in 2011, PROFIT and C-FAARM, will be useful for the FTF learning agenda. The USG FTF has a unique opportunity with a defined geographic focus and the initiation of new activities to establish an impact assessment framework to assess high level impact, as well as to identify the relative contribution of different intervention, such as value chain upgrading versus household level management skills. USAID/Zambia will work with partners and other agencies to develop an impact assessment methodology that is consistent with and contributes to the project performance monitoring framework, but will also test several development hypotheses.
An initial baseline survey will be conducted in Eastern province to establish current levels of key variables including incomes, nutritional status, household production and asset patterns, and agriculture technology levels. This baseline will draw from the latest survey methodologies, particularly recent work on gender and asset control24. An appropriate sampling framework will be established to assess impact, most likely on a biannual basis. A randomized approach will be considered for a sub-sample to maintain the integrity of the impact assessment; however, flexibility will be needed to consider mid-term correction in order to ensure the greatest impact over the period of the strategy.

In the context of the development challenges and opportunities identified in Zambia and outlined in Section 1.1, several development hypotheses are of interest for the impact assessment. In particular, the relative contribution will be assessed of community-level versus household-level interventions to reducing poverty and undernutrition, as well as the additional value of the co-location of interventions. Another hypothesis of interest to be tested is: By increasing productivity, improving household food security and linking smallholders to markets for agriculture commodities, FTF interventions will reduce the incentives for exploiting the natural resource base.

Performance Evaluation
The FTF program will schedule performance evaluations to focus on descriptive and normative questions including: project or program achievements (either at an intermediate point in execution or at the conclusion of an implementation period); program implementation; program perception and value; and other questions pertinent to program design, management and operational decision-making. These performance evaluations will incorporate before-after comparisons whenever feasible.

Impact Evaluation
The FTF program will conduct impact evaluations to measure the change in development outcomes attributable to FTF interventions. Impact evaluations will be based on cause-effect models and will require a credible and rigorously-defined counterfactual control. Impact evaluations with treatment and control groups help provide the strongest evidence of a relationship between interventions and measured outcomes. One hypothesis to be explored includes identifying increased benefits from combined interventions, particularly income-augmenting and nutrition-related activities. In the nutrition portfolio, the differential effect of geographically co-locating health programs active in nutrition with agriculture programs working on the productivity and diversity side of the nutrition equation can be tested.

USAID/Zambia has provided extensive support to the Government of Zambia in monitoring the agricultural sector, and in analyzing government data through the Food Security Research Project (FSRP). This support will continue and can be drawn upon to monitor agricultural trends. In addition, FSRP has expertise in analyzing surveys such as the biannual Living Conditions Monitoring Survey (LCMS) which tracks poverty levels, and the Supplemental Surveys, which provide quality agricultural data. This expertise can be leveraged for improved performance monitoring by the GRZ, as well as for FTF performance.

The CAADP framework focuses largely on performance in the agricultural sector. For national performance toward other MDGs, particularly those related to nutrition and gender impacts, the FTF team will work with additional partners to identify appropriate data sources and performance monitoring modalities. For example, the Nutrition Cooperating Partners sub-group may be instrumental in the creation of a data monitoring platform according to the SUN Movement principles. However, the Zambia FTF framework will focus its efforts largely on performance for the targeted FTF areas and the contribution of these changes to national levels.

Increased productivity and income from selected value chains (gross margin per unit of land or animal of selected product); Number of farmers, processors, and others who have applied new technologies or management practices as a result of USG assistance (disaggregated by sex); Value of incremental sales (collected at farm/firm level) attributed to FTF implementation (disaggregated by targeted commodity) (disaggregated by sex of household head); Value of new private sector investment in the agriculture sector or food chain leveraged by FTF implementation (Change in value – investments local and international); Increase in employment in value-added processing enterprises linked to selected commodities.

Increased productivity and income from selected value chains (gross margin per unit of land or animal of selected product); Number of farmers, processors, and others who have applied new technologies or management practices as a result of USG assistance (disaggregated by sex); Value of incremental sales (collected at farm/firm level) attributed to FTF implementation (disaggregated by targeted commodity) (disaggregated by sex of household head); Value of new private sector investment in the agriculture sector or food chain leveraged by FTF implementation (Change in value – investments local and international); Increase in employment in value-added processing enterprises linked to selected commodities.

Outcome reported by social determinants: 
Vulnerable groups

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