Skip to main content

Green harvests slowly improve household food access as the lean season ends

  • Key Message Update
  • Zimbabwe
  • March 2023
Green harvests slowly improve household food access as the lean season ends

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In March, typical deficit-producing areas are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) as the lean season comes to an end. However, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are present in the surplus-producing communal and resettlement areas, respectively. In April, the start of the mature harvests and increased availability of own-produced crops will improve food availability and access in most typical deficit-producing areas, supporting Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through September, with Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes in most northern surplus-producing areas.  

    • Tropical Storm Freddy brought heavy rains to parts of eastern Zimbabwe in mid-March; however, there was a prolonged dry spell throughout most of the country during the month. The general dryness did not affect most crops in the northern areas, given the high residual soil moisture following persistent rainfall in February. However, in some southern areas, there are reports of crops experiencing various levels of moisture stress. Green crop consumption increased in March, stabilizing and supplementing household food consumption in some areas. Across most of the country, the early planted crop is nearing maturity and will likely begin to be harvested in April. Maize prices remain stable after seasonally peaking in February, while maize meal prices increased by around 10 percent in March.

    • In February, the government started reporting a blended inflation rate combining ZWL and USD. Since late January/early February, the parallel market exchange rates have increased by about 10 percent, trading at 1,300 ZWL per USD. The gap between the parallel market and official rates (auction and interbank rates) has also narrowed, with the official rates trading at 928 ZWL per USD in late March; however, businesses can effect a 10 percent increase above the interbank rate. The high prices for goods and services are negatively impacting low-income households' purchasing power.

    • Most households continue to engage in casual labor, petty trade, and artisanal mining to earn income, along with other livelihood activities and coping strategies. However, increased petty trade competition and limited demand are keeping incomes below normal. In early March, tobacco sales began, improving incomes for tobacco farmers and respective communities, especially in the northern areas. In typical deficit-producing areas, households are likely to continue selling livestock to earn income for food and non-food needs, although incomes may be negatively impacted by poor demand, oversupply in some areas, and livestock diseases.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Zimbabwe Key Message Update March 2023: Green harvests slowly improve household food access as the lean season ends, 2023.

    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.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top