ZIMBABWE Food Security Outlook January through June 2011


Key Messages

About 1.7million people are estimated to be food insecure during the current peak lean season running from October through February. About 400,000 of the food insecure people are estimated to be in urban areas and those in the rural areas are outside of the central districts and are classified to be moderately food insecure. Food assistance program plans for the period of January through to March should be sufficient to cover the assessed needs.

Despite farmers facing limited purchasing power to acquire inputs and the usual draft power shortages, the summer agricultural season performance in the first half of the season (October to December) was similar to last year and was better than the average performance for the past five years.

The production forecast for the remaining half of the season remains optimistic. Consequently, most parts of the country will get the usual break from the peak lean season by the end of February following the start of the green harvest. Food stocks will be replenished with the coming of the main harvest from April through June.

Despite the positive impact of food assistance programs, the initiation of the 2011 harvest, and the generally positive economic outlook for the whole of 2011, there are some worrying developments for the food security situation in Zimbabwe. Since food imports will continue to be a significant component of Zimbabwe's food supply in the outlook period, and a marked proportion of Zimbabweans rely on markets for their basic needs, global food and fuel price trends are likely to impact the purchasing power for very poor and poor households. Another worrying development is the poor rainfall season quality experienced in the southern districts of Masvingo and Matabeleland South provinces during the October to December half of the summer cropping season. Not only is the green harvest likely to be delayed and small, but the summer harvest may even be substantially lower than last year's.