Linking the formal and informal food sector to enhance access to nutritious food for city dwellers

The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in Sub Saharan Africa. Its capital city, Lusaka is the largest city in the country. Approximately 80% of Lusaka city population get their food from the informal food sector.

Yet like many others in the world, the informal sector in Lusaka is marginalized and lacks recognition. The marginalization of the sector from strategic policy planning is a lost opportunity, as the actors can be allies in advancing sustainable food systems in Zambia. The ability of the sector to provide nutritious food is affected by challenges including inadequate storage facilities, inadequate market information, consumer preferences and limited knowledge of nutrition. Traders and vendors also pay numerous fees to middlemen, council, or representative associations. 

FSL Lusaka: Market
FSL Lusaka: Market

The focus of Lusaka Food System Lab is to work with the informal sector to contribute to improved diets and nutrition. This project will address these challenges by promoting simple food preservation technologies to enable long shelf life for food products, and increasing availability of market information, and advocacy and behavior change campaigns to increase consumer’s demand for healthy diverse nutritious food, including traditional vegetables.

Specific objectives:

  1. To foster co-learning and co-creation processes
  2. To gain and improved understanding of the determinants of current dietary patterns which cause nutritional problems
  3. To reduce food losses and increase food safety through simple technologies


  1. Capacity building for the informal food sector while increasing knowledge and skills
  2. Development of materials on vegetable and fruit preservation methods

Lusaka, Zambia