Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Key Message Update: Above-average production expected to drive improved income from crop sales and casual labor, May 2021

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Key Messages:

The ongoing harvests and seasonally high availability of agricultural labor are improving food availability and access across the country. As a result, widespread Minimal (IPC Phase 1) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are present and expected to persist through September. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are primarily expected in southern and western areas where crop production was negatively impacted by excessive rainfall, and household income continues to be constrained. Urban areas are expected to remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) as poor households are likely to meet their basic food needs but are expected to continue having difficulty earning income for non-food purchases.

Due to the significantly above-average 2021 harvest, the government has suspended all formal maize grain and maize meal imports. Grain deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) are set to increase as harvesting and drying of grain to recommended moisture levels progress. Maize grain supply on the open markets is gradually improving as harvesting continues, although grain supply is expected to be affected by low demand, especially in surplus-producing areas and the government directive for farmers to deliver all surplus grain to the GMB.

Maize grain prices on the open markets are decreasing, with prices dropping by 15 percent across some monitored markets between March and April. Still, prices remain high impacting access for market-dependent poor households. Also, prices for other food and non-food items continue to increase. Though the official annual inflation rate in May decreased to 162 percent from 194 percent in April, it still remains high. The monthly inflation rate increased to 2.5 percent from 1.6 percent over the same period.

Household income is expected to be above-average during the post-harvest period due to the anticipated above-normal crop sales and agricultural labor, especially in surplus-producing areas. Income from livestock sales and seasonal livelihood activities like vegetable production and sales, brick making, construction, and artisanal mining is expected to be near-normal. Above-average water availability and access are expected in most areas to drive near-normal engagement in income-earning activities. However, even with the favorable 2020/21 rainfall season, the water supply in some typical semi-arid areas is expected to be seasonally depleted partly due to limited water holding capacity. This will likely drive declines in water availability for domestic, livestock, and other livelihood uses through October.