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Stable staple food prices maintain Minimal acute food insecurity outcomes in the country

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Zimbabwe
  • August 2014
Stable staple food prices maintain Minimal acute food insecurity outcomes in the country

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through December 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Most households including the very poor are experiencing Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) as cereals and other food items are readily available from their own production and are being supplemented by market purchases.  

    • National average maize grain prices for July are five percent lower than the two year average, though they remain higher than the five-year average. Increasing market supplies and current trends are expected to result in price stability and favorable purchasing power particularly between November and December.

    • Income from typical off-farm activities including brick molding, construction work, and selling thatch grass are stable and increasing, further improving household access to food and livelihood needs.   


    Current Situation
    • Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) is being experienced in the country due to availability of cereals and other food items from own production in all the districts including in south-western areas that are usually cereal deficit regions.  Market supplies are stable as farmers sell cereals to traders. Main traders in deficit areas indicated that they are moving grain from the surplus districts in anticipation of the upcoming lean season in October.
    • Prices of maize grain and maize meal have stabilized in most markets owing to increased supplies from the 2013/14 harvest.  National average maize meal prices for July are eight percent above the two-year average and  have recorded a five percent drop in July, which is below previous month prices mainly due to reduced demand for maize meal as households are consuming staple food from own production.
    • Average national maize grain prices continue to drop and are now at 15 percent below last year prices, eight percent below the two-year average, with significant decreases recorded in traditional maize producing areas including Midlands and Mashonaland districts. However, average national maize grain prices are still six percent above the five-year average due to the effect of low production in recent previous seasons. FEWS NET’s price projection indicates that average national maize grain will likely be stable at an average of US$0.35 per kg from August through December.
    • Livestock conditions are good due to improved pasture and adequate water from the 2013/14 agriculture season and this is allowing for better terms of trade for livestock income. This has resulted in an increase in cattle and goat prices by an average of 46 percent and 30 percent respectively compared to the reference year of 2009[1].
    • Income from self-employment including brick molding, construction work, and other typical off farm casual labor activities (all projected to increase by about 20 percent during the outlook period) will also contribute to improved purchasing power for very poor and poor household.

     


    Updated Assumptions

    The assumptions used to develop the most likely scenario for the July to December 2014 Outlook period are still valid and no changes are expected on the food security outcomes. The July to December 2014 food security outlook  is available online and provides detailed information on the assumptions and projected most likely food security outcomes.


    Projected Outlook through December 2014

    Households including the very poor will continue to experience Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) outcomes from September through December. Food consumption for most of the households is projected to be stable due to availability of cereals and other food items from own production, stable incomes, and stable food prices. Some very poor and poor households from traditionally cereal deficit areas including the south-west parts of the country will start to supplement their meals with market purchases, towards the beginning of the lean season in November. The increase in incomes along with stabilized cereal prices will contribute to improved purchasing power for very poor and poor households.

    The expected increase in the availability of market maize and small grain supplies will contribute to stable staple food prices from September through December. Demand for maize meal and access to maize grain through purchases is likely to increase towards November, when some very poor and poor households will start to supplement household food stocks. Maize grain prices are projected to be 11 percent above the five year average and stable. Income from off-farm casual labor activities is likely to increase by about 20 percent from September through October, as well as the on-farm casual labor activities including land preparation and weeding from October through December.  

    [1] The reference year is the baseline year or “near normal” access year for which current changes are being monitored and compared to.

     

    Figures Seasonal Calendar

    Figure 2

    Seasonal Calendar

    Source: Fews Net

    Figure 4

    Source:

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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