Reduced incomes and high food prices are expected to increase food insecurity among poor households in south-western districts
• The majority of rural households across the country are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes. However, in localized areas of Masvingo, Matebeleland South, Matebeleland North, and Midlands provinces very poor households are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to poor production and high staple food prices. From July to September, very poor households in parts of Matebeleland South, Midlands, Masvingo, Manicaland and Mashonaland Central will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
• Based on estimates from the second round crop production and livestock assessment for the 2012/13 season, the current national cereal deficit is estimated at 695,552 MT after considering opening stocks (320,000 MT) and imports to date (150,000 MT). This year’s deficit is 37 percent higher than last year’s shortfall and accounts for 34 percent of the national requirement. This shortfall is expected to be filled through imports.
• Maize grain, maize flour, beans, and oil are generally available on the market and accessible for most households across the country. Food prices in the south-western districts are 2-10 percent higher than the national average. These slightly higher prices are likely to decrease purchasing power among households that are depending on markets for most of their food purchases.
• According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee’s (VAC) food security assessment, 1.5 million people are estimated to be in need of assistance between October and December, and this figure is expected to rise to 2.2 million between January and March 2014. Based on these findings, humanitarian assistance through the Seasonal Targeted Assistance (STA) program is planned to start as early as September/October in most areas, while likely ending in March. In the presence of STA, FEWS NET projects that most households will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food security outcomes between October 2013 and March 2014, with the exception of some localized areas that will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in Tsholotsho, Bulilima, Mberengwa, and Chivi districts.