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Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity outcomes continue in southern districts in Matebeleland North and South, Masvingo, Midlands and parts of Manicaland Provinces, as well as some marginal areas in the extreme north. These areas are in urgent need of assistance to protect their livelihoods and to fill food consumption gaps. The bulk of the traditional cereal-surplus areas in the north are Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Most areas in the south are expected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between July and January. In the north outcomes are expected to further deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) for poor households from the October to January period once they have depleted own- produced stocks.
The worst affected in both the south and the north are very poor and poor households that experienced very low production or crop failure during the 2015-16 cropping season as a result of the El Niño-induced drought. Sharply reduced incomes due to below normal livelihood options (crop and livestock sales, vegetable production and sales, casual labor, self-employment, etc.) and prevailing economic and liquidity challenges are also constraining food access.
Since the Zimbabwe Food Security Outlook from June 2016 – January 2017, more details regarding inter-annual and emergency food assistance have become available. According to the World Food Program (WFP), the 2016/17 Lean Season Assistance that began a few months ago will expand in July to include food insecure districts in the southern, western and northeastern parts of the country. Monthly assistance in the form of in-kind rations will include maize, pulses, and vegetable oil. Households receiving assistance in the form of cash transfers will receive USD 7 per person per month. The Lean Season Assistance is planned to last until March 2017. The size of populations in need that are receiving assistance is significant in some of the targeted districts. As a result, acute food insecurity outcomes in these districts are projected to improve from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) in the presence of emergency assistance. Additionally, information about targeting in other districts is forthcoming and could change projected outcomes in the coming months.
Average June maize prices in FEWS NET sentinel markets were stable ($0.44/kg) compared to May maize prices ($0.43/kg). Most markets across the country have not experienced the typical seasonal drops in prices following the end of harvests in May/June. Currently, above-average maize prices are adversely affecting food access for very poor and poor households that are relying fully on market purchases for their food needs. Maize meal prices continue to be stable across the country. FEWS NET expects that prices for both cereals will increase earlier than typical once local supplies are exhausted and as higher priced international imports arrive. Official import data for June is still unavailable.
This Key Message Update provides a broad summary of FEWS NET's current and projected analysis of likely acute food insecurity outcomes in this geography. Learn more about our work here.