Zimbabwe

USAID Zimbabwe Resilience Fact Sheet

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Background/Risk

Zimbabwe’s development progress depends on the productivity of its natural resources, principally land, water, and wildlife. Yet Zimbabwe’s food, forests, and wildlife are in steep decline. Ongoing climate events, increased poverty, population growth, poor land use planning, and weak governance contribute to serious degradation of natural resources. Agricultural production by smallholder farmers is declining, increasing the food insecurity of rural communities.
As a result, Zimbabwe experiences extremely high rural poverty and chronic and cyclic food insecurity with high levels of undernutrition. According to Integrated Phase Classification analyses, nearly half the population is food insecure. Zimbabwe has struggled to meet its national annual cereal requirements and relies on imports and humanitarian assistance. Dependence on rain-fed agriculture, weak market systems, and periodic weather and economic shocks contribute to a tenuous food security situation for rural and urban populations. Years of political and economic instability and rapid population growth have resulted in a deteriorating economy with high inflation levels, further worsening the situation for lowincome households as they cannot afford food in markets.
Most disasters in Zimbabwe are caused by water- and climate-related events, such as floods or droughts. As climate change increases the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, the number of water-related disasters is expected to rise. These weather events cause disruptions in the availability of food and water and increased conflict among communities and between humans and wildlife. Mounting stress on agricultural systems and water availability will require effective and aggressive adaptation to sustain livelihoods and the ecosystems upon which Zimbabwe depends.