Between February and May 2019, an estimated 31 percent of Zimbabwe’s rural population (2,878,957 people) require urgent action to protect and save livelihoods, reduce food consumption gaps, and minimize acute malnutrition. 1,891,777 people (20 percent) are in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis), while 987,179 (10 percent) have been classified in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency). Approximately 2,873,301 people (31 percent) are in IPC Phase 2 (Stressed), while 3,668,405 people (39 percent) have been classified in IPC Phase 1 (Minimal).
The most affected households are those with minimal or depleted cereal stocks, making them more dependent on market for food purchase, as well as those relying on labour opportunities linked to the preparation of the cropping season. The most severely affected areas classified in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) are Binga (36,912, 25%), Mudzi (28,290, 20%), and Buhera (65,251, 25%), while Kariba has been classified as Phase 3! (Crisis-would be at least one phase worse in the absence of humanitarian food assistance). 50 districts are classified as IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and 8 districts in IPC Phase 2 (Stressed).
The current food insecurity is driven by multiple shocks, including climate and economic shocks. During the lean season, households deplete their cereal stock and usually depend on the market. Food prices are currently 50 to 150% above the five-year average and are expected to keep increasing throughout the lean season, with extremely negative effects on households’ financial access to food. The current cropping season (2018/19) was marked with late onset of rains, which resulted in abnormally dry conditions, affecting agriculture activities, thereby reducing the income of the most vulnerable households relying on occasional agriculture labour. Dry conditions have also resulted in high livestock deaths, likely affecting the quality and capacity of beef and milk production.