The changing food expenditure patterns and trends in Zambia: implications for agricultural policies
Zambia, like many other African countries is undergoing rapid urbanization and rising per capita income, accompanied by rising population. This study sought to understand the changing food expenditure patterns in Zambia and the implications of this transformation on food policy, food market development, and rural development. The main source of data for the study was the Living Conditions Monitoring Survey (LCMS) data collected in 1996, 1998, 2010, and 2015 by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) of Zambia. Trends in expenditure shares were done for each of the food categories over time and by rural and urban areas. The study found that there have been major declines in the shares of food expenditure on maize among rural and urban households between 1996 and 2015. However, wheat shares in urban households’ diets increased while rural households experienced a drop in coarse grains and tubers. Wealthier households spent larger shares of their food expenditure on wheat, rice and potatoes. Further, wealthier households increased their share of expenditure on animal protein, while poorer households doubled their expenditure on vegetables. Thus, transformation of food expenditure patterns is evident mostly among the high income households, mainly in urban areas. Overall the changing pattern of food expenditure is consistent with rising incomes and rapid urbanization. However, the disparities between the different income groups and between rural and urban areas are indicative of a rise in income inequality both in urban and rural parts of Zambia.
KeywordsExpenditure patterns Consumption patterns Agriculture Policy Income Zambia
We wish to acknowledge the financial and substantive support of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Lusaka.
Compliance with ethical standards
Statement on conflict of interest
We as authors hereby declare that there is no conflict of interest arising from the publication of this article in Food Security.
Details of ethical approval
The analysis done for this article used datasets collected by the Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Central Statistical Office (CSO), which is the department charged with national statistics. The CSO complied with ethical standards during the collection of data.
Statement of informed consent
As part of standard practice by the CSO, respondents were given full information on the survey prior to the commencement of the questionnaire based interviews. Further, respondents were also given an option to discontinue the interview.
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