• 17,3 million people

  • 56% Lives in rural areas

  • National poverty 60%

* World Bank data for 2018


  • Urban Poverty 28%

  • Rural Poverty 78%

* IFAD data for 2010



Conservation Agriculture Scale Up (CASU) project 



31 districts, 11 of which were also intervened by HGSF.


Beginning of the program:



Target population:

Conservation Agriculture (CA) Lead Farmers (LFs) And small-scale follow farmers (FFs)



Institution in charge:

Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) working with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)


Goods and services provided:

  • Conservation agriculture practice
  • Business management.




To reduce hunger and improve the households’ food security and income through an increase in their agricultural production, diversification, and productivity. This is done through the implementation of CA practices.

Home Grown School Feeding (HSGF)





Beginning of the program:



Target population:

Schools and small farmers in the districts treated by the program Purchase for Progress (P4P)


Institution in charge:

World Food Program (WFP) working with the Ministry of Education


Goods and services provided:

  • The provision of nutritious cooked meals to school children.
  • Market access to small-holders organized in aggregates.


1) To increase school attendance and retention of children.

2) To reduce poverty in rural areas, improving local domestic economies, and providing local markets for small-scale farmers.


The promotion of coherence and articulation between social and productive interventions simultaneously targeting the same group of poor small-holder farmers can trigger synergistic effects that are greater than the standalone impacts of the programs. The complementarities can also contribute to increasing the resilience of households in the face of external shocks, such as the one we are currently facing as a result of COVID-19.

Zambia’s Conservation Agriculture Scale-Up (CASU) project met its objectives on several dimensions, including farmers’ adoption of conservation agriculture practices, productive outcomes, market participation and earnings accrued to program participants, and household food security and nutrition. By contrast, the Home-Grown School Feeding (HGSF) program may be considered to have met its objectives only partially. But the two components of the HGSF seem to have worked at cross purposes, triggering unintended effects that ended up prejudicing the farm households that took part in the program.

These results highlight the need for action to improve coherence not only between programs but also within individual programs. The fact that the combination of CASU and HGSF led to positive impacts on many outcomes, often higher than the effects of each program on its own, suggests the potential for strong synergies if adjustments are made to the HGSF program, including the introduction of complementary interventions to support farmers’ post-harvest and marketing activities and more deliberate, intentional linkages between the program’s own components and these other complementary interventions.

Ensuring multisectoral arrangements and planning to enhance coherence and articulation in program design and implementation is needed. This includes ensuring that market access programs such as Purchase for Progress (P4P) provide effective communication and consistent and timely support to enable farmers and cooperatives to meet the output targets set in the contracts. While P4P provides a market for legumes, CASU promotes legume integration as part of its programme, but market incentives to grow legumes are weak. Thus, there is potential for complementary impacts.

Agreements to design two complementary programs should be followed with continued efforts to maintain permanent communication flows and active collaboration between their operational staff throughout implementation within technical committees or other similar arrangements, including at operational field levels throughout the duration of the programs.

Combining the HGSF with agricultural programs like CASU presents high potential for benefits, but must be designed and implemented in a coordinated manner, paying particular attention to targeting and coverage aspects, as well as small-holder capacity building, in order to fully harness the potential of synergic effects.


Impact evaluation

  • CASU project
    • Increased farm production and food security without having significant effects on schooling (attendance or drop-out rates).
    • Increased the time they dedicated to on and off-farm activities, as well as that spent in school and studying
  • HGSF
    • The program created a market for legumes and increased farmers’ revenues from these crops, given an increase in their production and sales
    • This enabled farmers to shift land out of low-value cereal production toward higher value legumes, as a smaller number of farmers were growing maize, and there was a drop in the average amount of maize and other crops harvested.
    • The programme reduced herd size and the share of farmers owning livestock
  • School meals
    • HGSF program diversified the diet of school-going children, and other household members, probably through spillover effects
    • Meals also contributed to attracting and keeping children in school
  • Combination of CASU and HGSF
    • When farm households participated in both programs, they tended to exhibit positive impacts on a large number of farming and food security outcomes.
    • The combination of HGSF and CASU did not manage to reverse the negative effects that were observed among HGSF households since it still produced sizable negative impacts for primary school-aged children.


The World Food Programme

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the leading humanitarian organization saving lives and changing lives, delivering food assistance in emergencies, and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.


The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
Its goal is to achieve food security for all and ensure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. With over 194 member states, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide.


Zambia's Ministry of Agriculture

The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) of Zambia is in charge of planning, monitoring, and evaluating agricultural programs, as well as promoting this sector’s production through the provision of policy guidelines for its programs. This Ministry promotes policies that would ensure national and regional food security through the annual, reliable provision of adequate necessary nourishment at competitive prices. It also provides a political and institutional framework that contributes to sustainable industrial development.

Zambia's Ministry of General Education

The Mandate of the MoGE is to formulate and implement Education and Science Policies, set and enforce standards and regulations, license, supervise and provide education and skills development, as well as promote science, technology, and innovation education. Its mission is to enable and provide an Education System that will meet the needs of Zambia and it’s people.

Evaluation Methodologies

Impact Evaluation

Institution in charge: FAO-Rome with local official and consultants

Methodology: Inverse Probability reweighting (IPW) multivariate treatment regressions

Objective: To identify the effects of CASU and HGSF on the interest variables, as well as the effect of receiving both interventions simultaneously.

The study focuses on three variable groups:

1) Agricultural production and income-generating activities;

2) Food security and nutrition;

3) Education results.


Household surveys to collect the information:

  • 72 community surveys
  • 639 households surveyed
  • Four comparison groups (arms)

    Qualitative Impact Evaluation

    • Institution in charge: FAO-Rome with local officers and consultants
    • Methodology: Comparative analysis in two locations: One with only HGSF households and one with CASU + HGSF households.
    • Objective: To complement and provide a more comprehensive understanding of the findings, as well as deepen the comprehension and the lessons learned from the investigation and the quantitative analysis.

      It does so specifically by:

      • Providing further information about the quantitative evaluation results.
      • Deepening the understanding of how and why the findings and specific impacts came to happen.
      • Explain how the institutional arrangements, the design, and the operative processes of HGSF at a central and local level produced particular effects in the production and consumption decisions of the households, as well as the impact of those decisions.

      There were three main research areas:

      1. Changes around the agriculture and income-generating systems.
      2. Changes in Food security and nutrition.
      • Operational and implementation program.
    • Tools

      • Focus groups discussions
      • Interviews with key agents.
      • In-depth household case studies

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    Universidad de los Andes | Vigilada Mineducación. Reconocimiento Personería Jurídica resolución 28 del 23 de febrero de febrero de 1949 Minjusticia