Prolonged dry spells and erratic seasonal rainfall in the southern parts of the country, including Matebeleland North, and parts of Midlands and Manicaland Provinces resulted in severe crop wilting and loss. The main harvests in these areas is expected to be one of the worst in the past five years. Poor households in these traditionally cereal-deficit areas are finding it difficult to afford essential non-food items (i.e. sugar, tea, etc.) and are expected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) by April.
Most households in the highly productive areas in the north are still consuming cereals from the previous harvest and supplementing this with their green harvests, and market purchases. Once the main harvests begin in April, households in these areas will likely continue experiencing Minimum (IPC Phase 1) acute food security outcomes through June.
Maize grain prices have begun to increase and national average prices rose by 14 percent between February and March. Although stable against the two-year average, this increase is likely due to decreased market supply. In the southern areas, average maize grain prices increased by 45 percent between February and March, and further increases are expected due to increased reliance on supplies from distant supply markets in the north. Generally national average maize meal prices are stable against two-year average and slightly less than same time last year in markets.