The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) monitors trends in staple food prices in countries vulnerable to food insecurity. For each FEWS NET country and region, the Price Bulletin provides a set of charts showing monthly prices in the current marketing year in selected urban centers and allowing users to compare current trends with both five-year average prices, indicative of seasonal trends, and prices in the previous year.
Maize grain and maize flour are the main foods consumed by all households in Zimbabwe. These food items are both produced locally and imported from neighboring countries particularly in the south western provinces of the country. The markets monitored are the main markets that offer both wholesale and retail supply in the respective regions of the country. Mbare in Harare is the largest market for the country which also supplies other markets, and representative of Mashonaland Central, West and East which are surplus producing areas; Kombayi in Gweru represents markets in central Zimbabwe covering Midlands province, Sakubva in Mutare is the main link market in the eastern part of the country mainly along the border with Mozambique. Mucheke in Masvingo, Renkini in Bulawayo, and Gwanda markets are the main supply markets in the south western provinces of Masvingo, Matebeleland North and South provinces.
From 2009 until early 2019, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe implemented a multicurrency system. All price data were reported in USD. During the first half of 2019, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe transitioned away from a multicurrency system and all prices were collected and reported in ZWL. Between 2019 and March 2020, ZWL depreciated rapidly and contributed to high inflation. In March 2020 the government attempted to fixed the exchange rate at 25 ZWL to USD. By June 2020, authorities introduced a foreign exchange auction system and allowed the use of the USD again for domestic transactions. While some formal businesses and SMEs are benefiting from the auction system, the demand for USD remains elevated, fueling parallel market exchange rates. Today, prices are reported in ZWL in formal shops (such as supermarkets) and often in USD on open markets.