|International Society for Horticultural Science|
Horticulture Research International
The country has a subtropical climate with three distinct seasons: hot and wet from November to April, cool and dry from May to August and hot and dry from August to November. Rainfall ranges from 700 mm to 1,400 mm per annum. Annual temperatures range between 15 °C and 30 °C. The high veld area is generally cooler than the valleys.
The country is land-locked with a surface area of 763 km2. Zambia lies South of the equator between 12° and 18° S and longitude 22° and 34° E. Zambia has three distinct relief features. These are the high veld (above 1200 m), the middle veld (900-1200 m) and the low veld (below 900 m). The high veld includes mountains, highlands, plateaux and escarpments. The low veld area include the lower Zambezi and Lwangwa river valleys.
Horticultural production is low but of growing importance. Popular crops are vegetables (cabbage, rape, onions, tomato) and fruits (orange, lemon, mango, guava and banana). Recently there has been a growing interest in floriculture. Horticulture export items include strawberry, cashewnut, garden peas, roses, aubergines, babycorn, squash, beverage crops like coffee, and tea.
Distribution of Horticulture
Commercial horticultural production is centred around high population centres of the urban areas. Farmers with irrigation facilities produce crops in bulk. Although most vegetables grown are exotic there is an increasing production of indigenous species. Most popular ones are amaranthus, African eggplant (Solanum aethiopicum) and Cleome (Cleome gynandra). Leaves of pumpkins, cowpea, sweet potato and beans are also eaten. Regarding fruit production the position is as follows: Citrus mostly orange, is grown near urban and periurban areas, pineapple in the Northwest, cashewnut in the Western Province, banana, mango and guava are grown traditionally over the whole country. Beverage crops of tea and coffee are produced in the Northern Provinces. Apart from coffee and tea for which two companies were engaged with production and marketing, most of the horticultural produce is sold on the informal market. This is largely sold fresh in the urban market place. Small amounts of produce is processed. Efforts are being made to promote horticultural export.
The main research thrust is the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. Other research thrusts include the University of Zambia, the National Council for Scientific Research and some private Companies.
Nature of Institutes
Horticultural education is offered as a subject within the agriculture curriculum. The University of Zambia offers degrees in agriculture, where as Diplomas and certificates are offered by the Natural Resources Development College (Lusaka) and the Zambia College of Agriculture (Monze and Mpika) respectively. Institutions involved in research and development are the Department of Research and Specialist Services and a few others. Two departments of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries play an important role in horticulture. The Field Services Department through the Horticultural Section provides horticultural extension services. The Soils and Crops Research branch carries out research mainly through two commodity research teams: the Vegetable Research and Development Team and the Tree and Plantation Crop Team. Main areas for these teams are Mazabuka, where the National Irrigation Research Station is located, Mufulira, Misamfu and Mongu. Other institutions include the National Council for Scientific Research (Food and Technology Unit), the Kawambwa Tea Company and the Zambia Seed Company.
Organisations / Institutes:
Zambia Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries
University of Zambia
National Council for Scientific Research