Skip to main content

Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes expected in deficit-producing areas in the post-harvest period

  • Key Message Update
  • Zimbabwe
  • March 2024
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes expected in deficit-producing areas in the post-harvest period

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Following the premature cessation of the rainy season around mid-January, significantly below-normal to failed harvests, high food and other commodity prices, and constrained access to markets are expected to continue to drive area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in deficit-producing areas into the post-harvest period. An increase in the number of households facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes is also likely in typical surplus-producing areas in the north. Additionally, the ongoing macroeconomic issues are expected to further compound the impact of the poor harvests across the country through the post-harvest period as households largely remain dependent on market purchases for food. 
    • The historically dry conditions since mid-January and very high temperatures continue to reduce potential crop yields further as crops permanently wilt or face increased water stress across the country. Rainfall received through the remainder of the typical rainy season is unlikely to support the recovery of crops in most areas. Water and pasture conditions are also deteriorating in most areas, especially in typical semi-arid areas, with urban areas like Bulawayo experiencing critical water supplies. Many farmers in typical semi-arid areas are increasingly destocking their livestock, especially cattle, in response to poor water and pasture availability, constrained access to supplementary feeds, and deteriorating livestock body conditions. This has caused significant cattle price reductions, with most buyers offering less than 50 percent of normal prices for this time of the year, depriving farmers of potential income.  
    • The local currency further depreciated in March, with formal exchange rates increasing by nearly 50 percent and parallel market rates by 40-70 percent to 22,055 ZWL and 26,000-32,000 ZWL to the USD by March 28, respectively, compared to the end of February 2024. The rapid depreciation is driving further increases in ZWL prices of goods and services, which are now increasingly too expensive for low-income and other households earning in ZWL. In March, ZIMSTAT reported an over 60 percent increase in the ZWL cost of living, with the blended USD-ZWL annual inflation rate rising to 55.3 percent in March. Most poor households engaged in petty trade, casual labor, self-employment, and other income-earning activities are earning in USD, but overall USD household income remains low. Similarly, most typical and seasonal agricultural and non-agricultural labor opportunities and other income sources remain below normal.
    • Staple grain prices are higher than normal as demand and staple grain scarcity on the open market increases. In March, maize grain prices remained significantly above normal and continued to increase in some areas, ranging between 8 to 12 USD compared to 5 to 8 USD in a normal season. The government has increased the buying price for maize grain harvested in 2023 to 390 USD/MT from 335 USD/MT to attract farmers still holding onto surplus grain to sell. However, the maize grain producer price for the upcoming harvest has been set at 360 USD/MT. Maize meal prices for ZWL and USD also remain above normal, ranging between 5.5 to 8 USD per 10 kg bag compared to 4.5 to 6 USD last year. In mid-March, the government announced the removal, effective July 2024, of import duties for rice (a substitute for maize and maize meal) and other products such as potato seed, cooking oil, and genetically modified maize for stock feed production as part of measures to enhance food availability and access. 
    • The 2024 tobacco marketing season opened in mid-March and is expected to improve household access to income for tobacco farmers and other households. The average price of 3.34 USD/kg during the first seven days of the auction was about 13 percent higher than last year (2.95 USD/kg). However, the 2024 estimated 265 million kg tobacco harvest will be around 9 percent lower than last year due to the erratic and below-average rainfall. Almost 95 percent of tobacco is grown through contract farming, where the leaf-buying companies provide inputs and finances at the start of the season and then deduct the high cost of crop inputs and any services provided from the payment offered at the end of the season, keeping farmer earnings low. 

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Zimbabwe Key Message Update March 2024: Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes expected in deficit-producing areas in the post-harvest period, 2024.

    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