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Anticipated well below-average 2015-16 food and cash crop harvests, limited livelihood strategies, high cereal prices and reduced food assistance coverage due to resource constraints have resulted in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity outcomes in most of the southern parts of the country. Poor households are currently coping by selling more livestock than typical, seeking limited casual labor activities, and by participating in petty trade and informal mining. FEWS NET estimates that 1.6 million people are currently in IPC Phase 3 and that immediate food assistance is required. Approximately 400,000 people in mainly the northern parts of the country are experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity due to the below average harvests and poor liquidity.
In traditionally surplus-producing areas in the north, maize grain availability remains low on most markets and this situation is not expected to improve much after the harvests in May/June. The main source of grain in most markets continues to be imported maize from Zambia, although supply levels have decreased in recent months. Maize grain prices remain high but stable across most markets. In May, the government announced measures to try and address the cash shortages the country is currently facing due partly to increasing imports against decreasing export earnings in the US Dollar-dominated economy.
Although national crop estimates are still forthcoming, FEWS NET estimates that 2015-16 maize production is between 35-50 percent of both the five-year and ten-year national averages. The national cereal deficit for the 2016-17 consumption year is estimated to be above 1 million MT, which is much higher than usual. The ZIMVAC is currently conducting the 2016 rural livelihoods assessment, which incorporates a nutrition assessment and the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) analysis to inform and classify the severity of the food insecurity situation for the 2016-17 consumption year. Results from these exercises are expected in June.
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.