Zimbabwe Food Security Outlook Update, August 2019


Atypically early start to the 2019/20 lean season significantly increasing humanitarian needs


• Most typical deficit-producing areas continue to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) as poor households have little to no food stocks and are reliant on market purchases for food with limited purchasing power. This is mainly the result of the poor 2019 harvests and deteriorating macroeconomic conditions.
Starting in September/October, an atypically high number of people in surplus-producing areas are anticipated to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In early August, the government declared the 2018/19 drought and cropping season “a State of National Disaster” and appealed for international humanitarian assistance.

• Market supplies are significantly below average, specifically for maize grain, across the country. Maize grain and maize meal prices continue to increase in local currency terms, putting staple foods out of reach of most poor households. Additionally, increased bond note and coin shortages are limiting household market access. Additionally, alternative mobile money transfers are up to 40 percent above cash prices. Fuel price increases on nearly a weekly basis are driving up transport and basic commodity costs.

• Livelihoods across the country remain very constrained and households have limited opportunities to participate in both formal and informal markets. Terms of trade for both cash and in-kind payments of labor or bartering are unfavorable for poor households. Additionally, water challenges are worsening across most areas. This is negatively affecting many livelihood activities as well as livestock body conditions. Below average incomes and high agriculture input costs are anticipated to affect preparations for the 2019/20 agriculture season.