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Current food security outcomes across the country are Minimal (IPC Phase 1) as households across all wealth groups continue to consume own-produced stocks. However, from August to September, poor households in parts of the south and marginal north will start to experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes as own-produced stocks become limited and households begin to also face increasing challenges in meeting their other basic livelihood needs. From October 2017 to January 2018 most traditional cereal-surplus areas in the north will still maintain Minimal (IPC) Phase 1 outcomes due to the availability of own-produced stocks and relatively better livelihood options. However, more areas in the south and marginal north will transition to Stressed (IPC Phase 2), while more critical areas will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during this period.
Harvests have concluded for most smallholder farmers. Nonetheless, maize harvesting activities continue in large-scale and commercial A2 farming areas. Maize and other crop deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) have increased as drying continues and more grain meets the stipulated minimum moisture requirements. Supplies of grain on most rural markets is low due to reduced demand. However, some traders are buying grain cheaply from farmers in surplus areas and selling in some deficit areas, as well as for speculative purposes.
Cereal prices continue to decline, with July price levels being the lowest in the past five years. Farmers in maize source areas in the Mashonaland Provinces and other high production areas like Gokwe are selling maize from USD $0.11-0.17/kg. Average maize grain prices for July in FEWS NET sentinel markets dropped 15 percent since June, decreased by 32 percent in comparison to July 2016 prices, and are 26 percent lower than the five-year average. Average maize meal prices for July followed a similar trend, falling 14 percent since June, dropping 9 percent in comparison to July 2016, and are 11 percent below the five-year average.
Labor demand and wage rates are currently low because most households are consuming own-produced stocks and due to the continued national cash shortages. Typical livelihood options available to communities in the cereal-surplus north and other areas include crop and vegetable sales as well as on-farm and off-farm casual labor mainly paid in-kind. In the south, remittances, labor opportunities, and livestock sales continue to be limited. Informal mining, especially gold panning, brick-molding and construction are common activities across most districts. Tobacco auction days have been reduced from the usual five days to two days a week because deliveries to auction floors have declined.
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.