As both the national staple food and primary smallholder crop, maize occupies a central position in Zambia’s agricultural political economy. Despite the government’s large subsidies, maize productivity levels remain way below global averages, maize commercialisation in the smallholder sector remains highly concentrated, maize meal prices are highly volatile, and rural poverty remains high. This study uses a political economy framework to better understand the policy-making process, power structures and dynamics involved in the maize sector in order to get a better understanding of who holds the keys to change, and how to influence agricultural policy changes. Net-Map procedure was used to map the linkages of key players in order to determine critical nodes of policy change. The Executive (Cabinet/State House) was found to wield the most power in commanding the other actors in the sector. However, powerful lobby groups with links to the Executive have often opposed changes to the sector to maintain large rents to their constituency with disregard to the negative effects on the whole sector. In addition, a “Command Triangle” which holds the keys for sustainable policy changes in the maize sector was identified. This command triangle consists of the President, Minister of Finance and Minister of Agriculture. Hence, in order to bring about long-lasting changes to maize marketing policies in Zambia, there is a need for strong collective action within the command triangle, as it possesses the most influence.
Chapoto, Antony; Zulu-Mbata, Olipa; Hoffman, Barak D.; Kabaghe, Chance; Sitko, Nicholas J.; Kuteya, Auckland; and Zulu, Ballard
"The Politics of Maize in Zambia: Who holds the Keys to Change the Status Quo?,"
Zambia Social Science Journal: Vol. 6
, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/zssj/vol6/iss2/4