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Fertilizer shortages affecting crop quality amidst heavy rains across the country

  • Key Message Update
  • Zimbabwe
  • January 2017
Fertilizer shortages affecting crop quality amidst heavy rains across the country

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Indications are that the overall level of humanitarian assistance between January and March 2017 will remain more or less the same as December’s level due to resource constraints. Due to low levels of assistance in areas where households are experiencing large consumption gaps caused by the poor 2015-16 farming season, the poor economic environment, and scarce livelihood options, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes are expected to continue in the south and parts of the north.  Emergency (IPC Phase 4) area outcomes are also expected in a few districts. The food security situation is expected to improve from April onwards as the main harvests begin across the country, especially in the north.   

    • Persistent and at times heavy rainfall has been received across the country since the start of the second half of the rainfall season in January. This has resulted in normal to above normal rainfall for the entire country, a striking contrast to the drought conditions experienced during this time over the past two seasons. The good rains have improved water, pasture and livestock condition, most notably in the north. 

    • Unfortunately, field observations and key informant interviews have mainly indicated lower than normal cropping levels, especially in the south. Heavy rains are also causing waterlogging and leaching in some parts of the country. This is being compounded by a critical national shortage of fertilizers, which is affecting crop conditions in some areas. In late December and early January, outbreaks of the Fall Armyworm have been reported in all provinces in the south and some parts of the north. This type of armyworm is new to the continent and may have a more significant impact on cropped area. 

    • Rural and urban livelihoods continue to be affected by the ongoing economic and liquidity challenges. Though the December maize and maize meal prices were generally stable relative to November, they remain higher than the five-year average. Household access to food on the markets is generally below typical levels for households across just about all wealth groups. Common coping options include livestock sales and barter, petty trade, as well as on-farm casual labor. Casual labor opportunities, labor wage rates, and in-kind payments for labor are lower than typical. Despite improved cattle conditions, prices have not significantly improved in some communities. 

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.

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