The month of July saw the greatest increase in COVID-19 confirmed cases in the country since the start of the pandemic, however the number of confirmed new cases steadily declined during August from a daily average of 1,900 to 151 per day. The country registered a cumulative of 124,773 cases on 31 August up from the 107,490 confirmed cases by 31 July 2021, while the cumulative number of confirmed deaths increased by 27% from 3,490 on 31 July to 4,419 deaths by 31 August 2021. The government of Zimbabwe relaxed lockdown measures from level 4 to 2, which will enable households to fully resume livelihood activities.
SADC through the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum issued the forecast for the 2021/2022 rainfall season (SACOF-25) on August 31 2021. The forecast indicates a high likelihood of normal to above normal rainfall for the country for the upcoming rainfall season for the first half of the season (October—December). For the second half of the season (January—March) it is projected that the country has higher chances of receiving above normal rainfall.
Annual inflation decreased to 50%, while food inflation for the month was estimated at 50% in August. The Consumer Price Index (month-on-month inflation) increased by 4.18% in August compared to 2.56% in July 2021. Depletion of household food stocks in cereal deficit areas is increasing the food gap as households in these areas rely more on the market. WFP’s HungerMap LIVE monitoring system estimated about 5.8 million households were facing insufficient food consumption during the last week of August 2021.
Supply of maize grain in formal markets remained low, only reported to be available in one out of the six rural districts monitored and 11% of the urban markets. Unrefined maize meal was available in 40% of the rural and 83% of the monitored urban markets.
Sugar beans were available in 66% of rural markets and in 83% urban markets, while vegetable oil was available in 99% of rural markets and 88% of urban markets.
In USD terms, prices of commodities were generally stable and comparable to those reported in July with a decrease of 11% and 23% reported for Maize Grain and Sugar Beans respectively.
In ZWL terms, the price of maize grain and unrefined maize meal in both rural and urban markets was similar to those reported in July. The price of sugar beans decreased by 17% in rural and 16% in urban markets. The price of vegetable oil marginally increased by 8% in rural markets and 5% in urban markets.