Zimbabwe

Harmonised Cash Assistance Working Group Emergency Weekly Market Monitoring Report: 12th and 16th of August 2019

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Background and Methodology

This report presents information on market dynamics, price fluctuations and commodity availability in view of ongoing economic and domestic production challenges during the period 12th and 16th of August 2019 constituting the seventh round of the emergency markets monitoring. This Information was collected from 326 traders in 167 markets across 17 districts by WFP in partnership with members of the Cash Assistance Working group including World Vision International, CARE, Christian Aid, Mercy Corp, IRC, Red Cross, Action Aid, CAFOD, Africare, ADRA, MDTC, Plan International and WeEffect.

Major Highlights

• GMB maize grain price increased by 186% from ZWL0.75/kg to ZWL2.12/kg

• Prices are relatively stable with slight increases of about 3% for Sugar beans and Cooking oil.

Market Performance

The maize harvest is currently estimated at 800,000 tonnes, down by 53% from the previous year, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture. The hardships emanating from this poor harvest, exacerbated by unstable economic conditions, are being felt across the country. The World Food Programme estimates that more than a third of Zimbabwe’s rural population (around 3.6-million people) will be food insecure by October 2019. By January 2020, the figure is set to reach 5.5-million. (Business Maverick 16 August 2019). The population of Zimbabwe has further faced challenges of electricity which is available for just six hours a day despite the governments announcement on the resumption of Stage 1 load shedding. There also has been a shortage of clean potable tap water only running once a week in most high density surburbs and continued shortage of fuel with longer queues still in existence.

Prices of basic food items remained stable despite the operating environment in the country is now increasingly unpredictable. In the recent supplementary budgetary statement by the Minister of Finance government showed it’s commitment to the agricultural sector support, and in particular, maize and soybean cultivation this coming season through the Presidential Input support programme targeting 210 000 hectares for maize and 30 000 hectares for soya bean. A further 640 000 hectares are expected to be utilised for maize and small grains under support for the vulnerable groups.

Bond notes remain the main mode of payment preferred by rural households and goods are relatively cheaper when using this payment modality with a 3% premium being charged on average for mobile money payments. The cash shortages still being experienced in the country therefore contribute to the erosion of a household’s purchasing power, hence the need to introduce more cash onto the market. Government has announced this is in the pipeline, given enough cash is supplied on to the market this alone could result in price stabilisation at the very least.