Summary and implications
Although rural household food access has improved following the good harvest, the Vulnerability Assessment Committee (VAC) found that dietary diversity remains inadequate among many of the assessed households. Because this lack of diversity occurs just after a good harvest, when seasonal fruits, vegetable and legumes are widely available, an in depth food consumption study is needed to identify the causes, implications and extent of this problem. Retail maize grain prices have dropped to about 70 percent of the historic average for this time, and meal prices have started falling in response to lower maize prices. While farmers are selling maize to private traders at very low prices, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is offering a more competitive price. The Government of Zambia has so far released 40 percent of the budgeted funds for the maize purchase operation, and needs to release the remaining funds soon in order to implement the exercise effectively for the remaining purchase period. The export ban has been partially lifted: the FRA will be able to export up to 100,000 MT of maize, but private traders are still not allowed to export.