Zimbabwe Food Security Outlook Update, December 2021


Below-average rainfall from mid-November negatively impacts planting and seasonal labor demand


  • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to spread in many deficit-producing areas through March, as poorer households face depleted own-produced food stocks and limited access to food on the market. Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are expected where humanitarian assistance will be significant. Conversely, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in surplus-producing areas, where own-produced food stocks remain available for many households. Beginning in April, improvements in food availability and access are likely in both deficit- and surplus-producing areas as the 2022 harvests come in. Urban areas are expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) throughout the outlook period due to below normal income and atypically high prices.

  • Prolonged dryness and above-average temperatures from early November to mid-December resulted in a false and delayed start to the 2021-2022 agricultural season and below-normal cropped areas across the country. In mid-December, some communities had yet to plant due to lack of rainfall. Where plantings had begun, germination rates have been generally poor with moderate to severe moisture stress, especially in the northern areas. Rainfall received from mid-December resulted in farmers progressing with planting and replanting. However, given below-average rainfall to date, it is unlikely that this years’ above-normal cropped area targets will be met by the time the typical window for planting closes in early January.

  • Seasonal casual labor slowed down significantly in December with the delay of the agricultural season. Livestock sales and vegetable production and sales were also below normal levels, partly due to continued dryness in parts of the country. Other livelihood options such as informal cross-border trade and remittances remained constrained as a result of on-going macroeconomic challenges and COVID-19-related restrictions. Humanitarian assistance proceeded at below typical levels, given the above-average crop production in 2021.

  • The government tightened some COVID-19-related restrictions in mid-December, extending the Level 2 lockdown following a nearly 4,000 percent spike in weekly confirmed cases since the end of November. Poor urban households are most likely to be impacted by the new measures through the expansion of nightly curfews, among other measures. These exacerbate the on-going negative COVID-19-related impacts to livelihoods and household income, especially in the informal sector.