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The start of the green harvest improves the food security situation

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Zimbabwe
  • March 2014
The start of the green harvest improves the food security situation

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through June 2014
  • Key Messages
    • The start of green consumption, or the early harvest, and humanitarian assistance are contributing to Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) acute food insecurity in most districts. However, Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity outcomes still persist in some areas in southwestern parts of the country due to low coverage of humanitarian assistance.
    • As a result of ample and well distributed rainfall, many early planted crops have matured. As a result, most poor households across the country have started consuming green maize, groundnuts, pumpkins and cow peas.
    • Results from the first round crop and livestock assessment report indicates that crop conditions range from good to very good and that there’s a 16 percent increase in area cropped when compared to last season. The continuation of rains into mid-April are expected to result in good harvest, even for the late planted crops.

    Current Situation
    • While central and northern parts of the country continue to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) food insecurity outcomes, southwestern areas still show Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in the presence of limited assistance.
    • The consumption of green harvest products like ground nuts, pumpkins and green mealies is ongoing in most parts of the country, especially in areas in the northern and central region that had an early start of the season. Household food consumption and the general food security situation in these areas have significantly improved. Elsewhere in the southwestern areas, due to the later start of season the green harvest has also started late. Even though this harvest is small, access to the green foods has improved the food security situation in portions of Tsholotsho, Gwanda and Bulilima where less than 20 percent of the population was in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) one month ago.
    • Based on the Ministry of Agriculture’s first round crop assessment report there are higher chances of an above average harvest this season, especially for cereals (maize, millet and sorghum). This is based on the estimated cropped area which shows a 16 percent increase from the previous season. The total planted area for maize alone is estimated at approximately 1,655,366 hectares; an 18 percent increase from the previous season. Similar cropped area increases were observed for Pearl Millet (22 percent) and Sorghum (7 percent) when compared to the 2012/13 main season. The crop situation in most parts of the country remains good and there are higher prospects of an above average harvest across the country.
    • Livestock conditions across the country are reported be in good to fair condition with adequate water and pasture conditions. Based on the first round crop and livestock assessment, the current conditions have contributed to the 2 percent increase in the calving rate for cattle.
    • Households that planted with the first rains in mid-October are already harvesting. Continued rains in Masvingo, Matabeleland North and South and parts of Midlands Provinces further increases the chances of a good harvest for the late planted crops. Leaching has also been observed in most areas around the country but is most notable in the districts of Tsholotsho, Gwanda, Beitbridge, Bulilima, Mangwe and Matobo. Poor households in these areas without access to top dressing fertilizers are the most affected.
    • Localized areas in Tsholotsho, Mwenezi Muzarabani, Gokwe, Middle Sabi, Chiredzi and Chivi districts will likely have reduced yield due to the earlier flooding caused by heavy rainfall this season. Flooding in Masvingo has resulted in the displacement of approximately 20,000 people around the Tokwe-Mukorsi dam. Affected households are being resettled in Mwenezi district. Since crops in this area were destroyed by the floods, relocated households are currently relying on humanitarian assistance from the government, private sector, and the wider humanitarian community.
    • Tobacco sales are currently underway and households in tobacco growing areas are likely to earn significant incomes in order to meet their cereal purchase requirements and other livelihood protection needs. This season, the total cropped area under tobacco increased by 21 percent in comparison to the 2012/13 season.
    • The Seasonal Targeted Assistance Program is distributing final rations in March. The provided assistance amount is a half ration due to the funding challenges experienced for this funding period. As a result of the same funding challenges, the World Food Program (WFP) has also reduced coverage of its health and nutrition program from 23 to 11 districts. This reduction could have an impact on drug adherence for antiretroviral therapy (ART) for persons living with HIV/AIDS and treatment success for Tuberculosis. As a result of the recent flooding, an additional $800,000 is needed by WFP in order to provide four months of rations to the flood affected households in Tokwe Mukorsi that are awaiting resettlement.

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not changed the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the period of January to June 2014. A full discussion of the scenario is available in the January 2014 Food Security Outlook.

    Projected Outlook through June 2014

    The main harvesting period is April-June and most households across the country will start accessing food from their own production. The projected above average harvest across the country will likely increase cereal supplies on the market thereby pushing market prices down, particularly maize grain. Households in the tobacco growing areas will also likely earn enough income for both cereal purchases and other livelihood needs. Tobacco processing and marketing will further increase casual labor opportunities for poor households in the northern and central areas resulting in increased incomes for cereal purchases and other non-food needs. Most districts across the country including the southwestern areas will likely experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food security outcomes from April through June.


    About This Update
    This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work at

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2


    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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