Zimbabwe Food Security Update, November 2009

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The food security situation in both urban and rural areas continues to be stable during October and the early part of November 2009. Food is generally available in markets throughout the country at stable prices. Growing poverty levels remain the major determinant of the current levels of food insecurity.

An updated food security assessment by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac) in October 2009 marginally increased the estimate of food insecure people in both rural and urban areas to about 1.74 million (15 percent) and 2.17 million (18 percent) between October?December 2009 and January?March 2010, respectively.

WFP and C?Safe food aid programs reached out to most of the food insecure people in the rural areas in October 2009 and plan to continue scaling up in December 2009 and January 2010 to cover the food insecure population. It is worrying, however, that in November 2009, WFP is projecting a major pipeline break of more than 40,000MT of cereals between 1 December 2009 and March 2010.

Most parts of the country received some effective rains around mid?November, as expected, marking the beginning of the 2009/2010 summer main cropping season. Maize seeds of all types and fertilizers continue to be available on the markets throughout the country at stable prices, a complete contrast to the situation in the last two seasons. Low farmer incomes due to poor prices for most crops produced by smallholders continue to constrain their ability to obtain inputs. The Government and private sector inputs loan scheme remain generally inaccessible to the majority of farmers (small and large scale), most of whom failed to provide the required collateral. The input support programs by FAO and some NGOs have partly addressed the problem by providing seeds and fertilizers to over 700,000 smallholder farmers. Recently, the Government announced an inputs subsidy scheme for the smallholder sector, details of which are still to become clear.