Zambia is endowed with a large land resource base of 42 million hectares of which only 1.5 million hectares is cultivated every year. There are abundant water resources for irrigation and the country has 40 percent of the water in Central and Southern Africa.
Agricultural output in Zambia increased from 18 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2008 to about 20 percent of GDP in 2009. This was as a result of increased area planted, good rainfall patterns in the whole country, as well as favorable agriculture policies by the government. The country recorded increased production of major crops during the 2009/10 agricultural season compared to the 2008/09 season, including; sunflower (118 percent increase), soya beans (50 percent increase), rice (39 percent increase), maize (31 percent increase), tobacco (7 percent increase) and wheat (5 percent increase).
The agricultural sector continues to be the backbone of the Zambian economy as it contributes to the growth of the economy and also to exports. Primary agriculture contribute about 35 percent to the country’s total non traditional exports (all the country’s exports other than copper and cobalt) and about 10 percent of the total export earnings for the country.