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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title The Status of Hunger and Malnutrition in Zambia: A Review of Methods and Indicators
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://www.renapri.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/IAPRI_TP5.pdf
Abstract
Hunger, undernourishment, and malnutrition rates for Zambia have been reported in different
publications as being extremely high and among highest rates in the world. The most recent
statistics on undernourishment by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International
Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Food Programme (WFP) (2014)
ranked Zambia as having the highest levels in Africa and second from the bottom in world at
48%, a figure which is projected for 2014 to 2016. The MoA, is among key stakeholders,
which have queried these statistics given that Zambia recently experienced back to back
surpluses in maize production which provides 70 percent energy supply requirement. This
technical paper reviews the status of undernourishment, hunger and malnutrition in Zambia,
examining how the rates have been calculated. It also explains the likely causes of the high
rates of hunger and malnutrition in Zambia.
Secondary data and published survey reports were used to examine the data and methods
used to calculate Undernourishment, Hunger index, Food provisions and Malnutrition. To
assess the levels and track trends in nutritional status for Zambia, the study also used results
generated from the Zambia Demographic Health Survey (ZDHS) and the Living Conditions
Monitoring Survey (LCMS). ZDHS and LCMS are the only national level surveys which
provide data on nutrition and since they are not conducted in the same years, each one of
them is an important alternative data source.
The paper found some methodological issues in the calculation of undernourishment by FAO,
which is also a component in the calculation of the hunger index. For example, the level of
undernourishment calculated by FAO was reported as a population estimate, and hence
ignores the variation that may exist in the country.
However, the undernourishment rates are similar with those generated from
IAPRI/MAL/CSO survey, IFPRI Hunger Index and the figures from ZDHS. All the rates
range between 40% and 48%, an indication that hunger and malnutrition are likely to be at
alarmingly high rates, particularly at lean times of the year around September to February.
For Zambia to improve food security and reduce hunger, it should ensure that children and
their families have access to enough diverse and good-quality foods, clean water and safe
iv
sanitation. In addition, there is need child care capacity building programs at community and
household level through different Government and non-government interventions. On the
other hand, one reason Zambia may have ranked poorly in the State of Food Insecurity
(SOFI) report compared to other similar countries is lack of good information on food
consumption at household level. There is need to update the data on household food
consumption levels.

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