The province falls within the high rainfall belt classified as region III with an average annual rainfall of over 1,000mm. Rainfall levels are high throughout the province ranging from 1000 to 1,500mm per annum. The lowest precipitation is normally in Nchelenge North and Chienge districts, along the valley and South-West of Mansa District. The highest rainfall is found on the plateaus of Kawambwa and the North of Samfya district.
The good rainfall pattern gives a broad positive outlook for agriculture activities in Luapula Province. Over 116,000 ha of land is irrigable hence all year round farming can be practised in the province. Currently only 1000 ha is being irrigated by all categories of farmers and approximately 3,060,000 ha is arable land against 200,000 ha under cultivation.
In an effort to attract public and private investment in the agriculture sector Government has intensified its strategy in policy implementation through infrastructure roll out such as roads, development of the Luena farm block and investment in research and improved extension services.
The Infrastructure roll out in Luapula Province has improved access to markets, reduced post-harvest losses, and has made much needed inputs more widely available and accessible. The marketing of agriculture products to the DRC and east Africa is easily accessible through the use of new roads under the Link Zambia 8000 and TAZARA railways.
The current status of the agriculture sector of Luapula Province is characterised by various hectarages of different plantations scattered across the districts.
The focus is on growing the following: Sugarcane, Palm oil, Banana plantations, Horticultural Tree Plantations, Cassava, Maize, Rice, Soya beans, Wheat and Sunflower.
The province is looking for credible investors to take advantage of the appropriate climatic conditions to invest in the aforementioned plantations and food crop production. Investors therefore, have the opportunity to expand the existing plantations as there is still vast arable land which gives room for further expansion of production of tea, coffee, timber, banana and palm tree plantations.
The expansion in production also will entail the establishment of processing plants in the province. For instance, there’s need for banana and pineapple canning and the processing of palm oil into margarine and soap.
The province is also looking for investors who may resuscitate some of the plantations which are currently experiencing low production levels. Investing in new machinery and recapitalization of some of the estates will enhance sustainable operations and make them economically viable.
Investors can equally venture into other cash crops which have great potential for economic growth such as rice, cassava, maize, tobacco and edible oil.