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Mr Nelson M Mphande

To become a leading cassava and finger millet innovation hub in Zambia and on the global stage.

Photo of Nelson Mphande
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

One Banja Company Limited

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 3-10 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Lusaka, Zambia

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Lusaka, a province of Zambia, has a total area of approximately 21,896 km^2.

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

I was born in Lusaka and have spent all my life in this beautiful city. I have been working on nutritional foods in Zambia since 2013. The need for nutritional foods in Zambia is very high. The inability to access safe, nutritious, and affordable food is a problem for many people across country. In Zambia, more than 35% of children under the age of five exhibit stunting – evidence of undernutrition / malnutrition. At the same time, millions of smallholder farmers struggle to find profitable markets for their food crops. Some of the biggest global issues are: poor diets (malnutrition to obesity); environmental issues (climate change, water scarcity and environmental degradation); and poverty. Added to these challenges are the issues of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that have been contributing to the disease burden the world over. In Zambia, over 900,000 people are affected as of 2009 and the figure is growing. Over 80% of mortality from NCDs is caused by four main NCDs-cardiovascular disorders, cancer, diabetes mellitus and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Lusaka Province is one of the ten provinces of Zambia. It is the smallest province in Zambia, with an area of 21,896 Lusaka is the capital and largest city of Zambia. It is also Zambia's most populated and most densely populated province, with a population of 2.2 million and density of 100 persons per km²as of 2010. One of the fastest developing cities in southern Africa, Lusaka is in the southern part of the central plateau at an elevation of about 1,279meters. It is the most urban province, with the most doctors and fewest malaria-related incidents. Lusaka has become something of a boom town of late. New buildings are going up everywhere and many chain stores and shopping malls are springing up all over the sprawling suburbs. The road development isn’t quite keeping up, so peak hour traffic is finally becoming like other cities, but it has an optimistic air of town on the rise. English is the official language of the city administration, while Nyanja and Bemba are the commonly spoken street languages. In recent years, Lusaka has become a popular urban settlement for Zambians and tourists alike. Its central nature and fast growing infrastructure sector have increased donor confidence and as such Zambians are seeing signs of development in the form of job creation, housing, etc. Consequently, it is thought that with proper and effective economic reforms, Lusaka as well as Zambia as a whole will develop considerably. Lusaka is home to a diverse community of foreign nationals, many of whom work in the aid industry as well as diplomats, representatives of religious organisations and some businesspeople. The markets are a hive of activity as the thousands of stalls are set up, upgraded and cleared away every day. Its population almost trebled in the immediate post-independence era and continues to grow daily. Development has brought together people of many nationalities, making it a bustling centre for economic, political and cultural activities. The city lies at the junction of the main highways to the north, east, south and west. There are airlinks to most of the major tourist destinations in Zambia from Lusaka International Airport. The availability of food supplies depends on season and location. The main staple is nshima, which is made of maize (corn). Mealie meal is eaten three times a day, at breakfast as a porridge and as nshima for lunch and dinner. Buns are also popular at breakfast in peri-urban, taken with tea. Other foods, such as groundnuts (peanuts), sweet potatoes, cassava and millet, are more seasonal. Fruits are plentiful, including bananas, mangoes, paw paws, and pineapples, which come from the hilly regions. In the cities, there are plenty of fast-food establishments or "take-aways" that serve quick Western food such as sausages, samosas (savory-filled pastries), burgers, and chips with a Coca-Cola. There are also an increasing number of formal Western-style restaurants that are largely accessible only to the wealthy. 

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

DIETS: The Zambian diet is mainly composed of cereals, predominantly maize, starchy roots and, to a lesser extent, fruit and vegetables. Cereals provide almost two-thirds of the dietary energy supply. Although other food crops are becoming increasingly important, such as cassava and millet, Zambia’s dependence on maize remains very high which contributes to making it vulnerable to climatic shocks. In urban areas food consumption patterns are changing: rice and sweet potatoes are gaining importance. A consistent decline in maize production, inadequate production of alternative staple crops, climatic constraints, and poverty contribute to widespread food insecurity. The dietary energy supply is not sufficient to meet population energy requirements; the prevalence of undernourishment has increased to reach 45% in 2003-2005. 

ECONOMICS: The economy of Zambia is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and its capital, Lusaka is the fastest growing city in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).  Zambia itself is one of Sub-Saharan Africa's most highly urbanized countries. About one-half of the country's 16million people are concentrated in a few urban zones strung along the major transportation corridors, while rural areas are under-populated. Unemployment and underemployment are serious problems. The city prides itself in its market culture and every day, there are literally thousands of stalls that sell   myriad things. Lusaka City Market – Lusaka people go to this fascinating market to get their bargains. The market is host to over 400 stalls and despite its chaotic nature, tourists don’t often get hassled. 

CULTURE: In and around the city there is plenty to see and do for the visitor. The Lusaka National Museum, art galleries focusing on local artists, the Lusaka Playhouse theatre, the Kabwata Cultural Village and the Moore Pottery Factory are great places to visit in the city. The city boasts a rich culture of local artists and many of their pieces are available for sale.

TECHNOLOGY: The Zambian government is making strides in innovation and technology advancements. The government believes that innovation if well harnessed are key to improving standards of living to the citizenry in competitive world. The government notes that technology and innovation enhances economic efficiency and optimizes the contribution of Zambia's economic growth and poverty reduction. Government is also promoting theestablishment of economic zones, industrial parks and innovation hubs in orderto broaden its capacity to meet empowerment demands for young people and womenin Zambia.

Policy:  The Lusaka City Council is implementing localfood policies with active participation of citizens.  These policies, which reflect citizen’s visionand choices, is shifting the food value chain system towards one of inclusivityand sustainability, benefitting all citizens and the environment. 

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Agriculture and Nutrition: Agriculture produces the food people eat and is the primary source of livelihood (employment, income) for most the world'spoor, who, in turn, are most vulnerable to ill health and malnutrition.Agricultural development has enormous potential to make significantcontributions to reducing malnutrition and associated ill health. With itsclose links to both the immediate causes of undernutrition (diets, feedingpractices, and health) and its underlying determinants (such as income, foodsecurity, education, access to health services, and gender equity), theagriculture sector can play a much stronger role than in the past in improvingnutrition outcomes.

These challenges can be solved through the provision of a wide range of nutritious finger millet products in many different forms such as: meal / flour, bread, noodles, biscuits, instant porridge cereal, etc. Finger millet is not only nutritious but targets some of the highest malnutrition problems. This will be a new product on the Zambian market. Finger millet flour can be successfully incorporated as an ingredient for bakery products as it does not affect the overall sensory acceptability. Millet bread is a blend of wheat flourand finger millet flour. More importantly this blend enhances nutritional valuethat non-enriched wheat flour would not do. This  innovation focuses on producing, original and meaningful millet products (noodles, biscuits and bread) in Zambia. This product has a target market that is not difficult to define or limited innumber, therefore, will not struggle to make a profit. There exists a huge entrepreneurial climate in Zambia that rewards big time thinkers. Therefore,this Innovation is intended to endlessly and relentlessly benefit people who are diabetic and hypertensive. The packaged mixes in the millet bread will be consciously developed with the well-being of people in mind. We will only use ingredients of integrity. Baked goods and bakeries are among the fastest-growing industries for small businesses. Smart millet bread innovation is a blend of wheat flour and finger millet flour. More importantly this blend enhances nutritional value that non-enriched wheat flour would not do. People are now more interested in consumption of smart foods as we have noticed from the increased demand of finger millet on the market. 

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

The proposed millet bread innovations is necessary to ease growing healthy constraints in Lusaka and Zambia as a whole. We are coming up these innovations to help solve some of the problems that people who are health conscious face through the consumption of nutritious millet products. Millet meal is a high energy nutritious food recommended for people who are health conscious, lactating mothers, the young, etc. Regularly consuming a well-balanced,nutritious, and whole foods diet ensures that the body receives the nutrients that it requires to perform the various bodily functions necessary to sustain life. In addition, the immune system is strengthened, allowing the body to ward off many common debilitating diseases as well. Living healthy improves not only the physical wellness of an individual, but mental wellness as well.Individuals that live a fit and healthy lifestyle tend to feel more comfortable with themselves and how others view them. With today's hectic lifestyles, many individuals become so busy with everything that is going on in their lives that they forget to pay attention to their own personal health. 

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

DIETS: Food systems are changing rapidly: Globalization, tradeliberalization, and rapid urbanization have led to major shifts in theavailability, affordability, and acceptability of different types of food,which has driven a nutrition transition in many countries in the developingworld. Globalization generates marketing systems that require foodproduction to be intensified and standardized. Food production has become morecapital‐intensive and supply chains have grown longer as basic ingredientsundergo multiple transformations before the final product. Value chains shift power from producers to retailers and supermarkets.Standardization benefits larger suppliers rendering global markets moredifficult to access for smallholder farmers. Family agriculture and associated(agro) biodiversity is being marginalized, though smallholders continue to playa crucial role in supplying local markets with fresh and affordableagricultural produce. The diet transition moves throughdifferent phases, as incomes tend to rise. As incomes rise, the urban poor andemerging middle‐class households tend to reduce their consumption of cereals,roots, and tubers while increasing demand for refined grains and flours, sugar,salt, and fats. Demand for processed, convenience/fast foods at supermarkets,restaurants, and informal street foods rises. For middle‐class populationgroups, demand for fruits, vegetables, dairy, poultry, eggs, meat, and fish,strongly increases. In high ‐ andmiddle‐income countries, consumption of healthier foods has grown in the pasttwo decades, but particularly in low‐income countries, consumption of lesshealthy foods, such as processed meats and sugars, is rising even faster. 

AGRICULTURE: Zambian agricultural production is focused on one staple cereal: maize. Maize makes up the major part of the national diet, while nutrient-rich foods such as legumes, animal-source foods, fruit and vegetables are eaten in small quantities, particularly amongst the poorest families. Many Zambians live with food insecurity and malnutrition as result of poor diets: seasonal hunger affects countless families; a significant proportion of children suffer from stunted growth; and overweight and attendant diseases are increasing in adults. National nutrition and agricultural policy in Zambia recognises the need to increase and diversify the production of nutritious foods such as millet, to tackle hunger and improve diets. However, in practice, most government agricultural funding is still spent promoting maize production, despite repeated findings that this does not reduce food insecurity in the most vulnerable farming households.

TRANSFORMATIVE FOOD POTENTIAL: The food system encompasses the activities and processes of producing food, processing and packaging food, distributing and retailing food, and consuming food with the aim of securing food security at the scale in question. Globalisation has changed food security dynamics by involving food products and agricultural input commodities in the global trade market and global food system. The effective functioning of the Zambian food system demands the fulfilment of a number of preconditions, such as continuous access to land, energy, water and other resources, the absence of environmental disturbances and disasters such as droughts, floods, soil erosion or the contamination of air, water and soils and lack of disturbances resulting from political and military conflicts, or terror attacks. With growing insight into the consequences of the global food system for the environment, many cities in the Global North have implemented local/regional food strategies, food charters and other food system-related policies in an attempt to improve urban food security and encourage sustainable food system activities.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

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1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hi Nelson Mphande  Great to see you joining the Prize!

We noticed your submission is currently unpublished. Was this your intention? We'd love to have your submission included in the Prize. Even if you've not started populating your Vision just yet, by publishing your submission you can make it public for other teams in your region to see, get in touch and possibly even collaborate with you.

You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your Vision at any time before 31 January 2020 by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top. If you need inspiration or guidance, take a look at the Food Vision Prize Toolkit.
Here is the link to the Prize Toolkit:

Look forward to seeing your Vision evolve through the coming weeks.