Persistent volatility in the economy increases households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3)
The continued volatility in the Zimbabwean macroeconomy is expected to contribute to the worsening of food security across the country. Market dependence is atypically high, specifically for poor households who have limited to no food stocks. Additionally, market access to food is signifcantly below average as households have below average incomes and food prices are significantly above average. This has led to an atypically high number of households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) across the country with Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes likely in some households in some of the worst affected areas.
Maize grain prices in FEWS NET monitored markets continued to significantly increase from August to September by about 30 percent on average. Prices are expected to continue to increase through at least March 2020 due to limited market supply, significant increases in transportation costs, increased market demand, and devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar. The official monthly inflation rate reported by ZIMSTAT was 18.1 percent in August. The average monthly inflation for January to August 2019 was 14.2 percent. Transport costs increased by over 100 percent across the country between July and September.
Severe water availability and access challenges for households is limiting their ability to engage in normal livelihood activities. Poor pasture conditions are leading to the deterioration of livestock body conditions across the country. The worst affected in typically arid areas are most likely to experience abnormal livestock deaths resulting from drought conditions and increased incidence of livestock diseases. Livestock herd sizes are likely to decrease, negatively affecting household incomes from livestock sales.
According to international forecasts, the start of the 2019/20 rainfall season is most likely to be delayed and erratic with below-average cumulative seasonal rainfall across the country. Many households are unlikely to afford basic inputs as prices for agriculture inputs are extremely high and incomes are significantly below average. Additionally, the poor livestock conditions and loss of draught power will most likely hamper prospects of cropping, leading to below average area planted.