Maize (Zambia)

The country’s national dish is Nshima – made of maize flour. It is not uncommon to hear a Zambian say that he has not eaten properly if he has not had Nshima at least once a day. And sometimes the quality of the cooked Nshima even plays a role in the selection of the bride for the wedding.

Nishma in the lower right corner

The agricultural sector is by far the largest employer in Zambia; up to 85% of the population work in this sector, but often only on a small scale for their own families and local markets. More than half of Zambia’s land area has medium to high potential as agricultural land, but at present only about 15% is used for this purpose. Compared to the mining sector, the agricultural sector contributes significantly less to the gross domestic product, but has been on the upswing for several years now.

Maize is the most widely cultivated crop in the country in terms of quantity and area (> 65% of the cultivated area). At the same time, it is also the country’s most important staple food. This results in a great dependency. White maize is consumed fresh or as a dried product (grain, flour) throughout the country and is also used for brewing local beverages. The national dish Nshima is made from maize flour. Maize is relatively easy to grow in many parts of Zambia and has been heavily prioritized and subsidized by governments in recent years. However, a diet based mainly on maize is not healthy because it deprives the body of vital nutrients. Therefore, it will be important in the coming years to diversify the crop species cultivated as well as the Zambian diet.