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The deteriorating macroeconomy and poor 2018/19 crop production are expected to drive widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes through at least January 2020. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes continue in some typical high-production areas; however, in August these areas are likely to deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3). The significantly above average food prices are limiting food access for many poor households across the country. The worst affected households with limited to no food stocks and constrained incomes are most likely to be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) starting around October.
Most food and non-food commodity prices continued to increase despite reports indicating the decrease of some basic commodity prices. The official annual inflation rate was reported by ZIMSTAT at about 176 percent in June, up from nearly 100 percent in May. Fuel prices went up by over 20 percent in July, the fourth price hike since January, further increasing transportation and other costs. Despite the ban of foreign currency , some goods and services continue to be charged in US Dollars and South African Rands, or at exorbitant rates in the local currency, above the official and parallel market exchange rates.
At the end of June, and in response to poor 2018/19 harvests, the government mandated maize grain shall be sold only to the Grain Marketing Board or contractors. The mandate also restricted grain transportation to 250 kg maximum, which will likely further negatively affect maize grain flows in the country. The demand for maize meal continues to increase atypically early in the post-harvest period.
Seasonal livelihood strategies continue to be constrained mainly as a result of poor 2018/19 harvests, worsening economic challenges, and decreasing water availability and access, especially in arid areas, limiting household incomes. Agricultural and non-agricultural casual labor opportunities are very limited as better-off households have no or limited resources to pay for the labor. In-country and international remittances mainly from South Africa are below average. As cash shortages continue, the use of mobile money has increased in both rural and urban areas is eroding disposable incomes owing to high service charges or rates.
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.