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Constrained access to income is anticipated for many households following the drought

  • Key Message Update
  • Zimbabwe
  • May 2024
Constrained access to income is anticipated for many households following the drought

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Poor 2024 crop harvests, below-normal seasonal agricultural labor and other income-earning opportunities, high food prices, and constrained purchasing capacity will maintain Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes across the typical deficit-producing areas in the south, east, west, and extreme north during the harvest and post-harvest periods. However, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) area-level outcomes are anticipated in some typical surplus-producing parts of the Mashonaland Provinces and other areas during the harvest and immediate post-harvest periods due to slight 2023 carryover stocks for some households in addition to the well below average 2024 harvests. However, households in these areas will increasingly engage in coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) area-level classifications likely to emerge in some areas as the lean season progresses. 
    • In May, the government estimated that 744,000 MT of maize and small grains will be harvested for the 2023/24 agricultural season. Of this, around 635,000 MT is maize, about 60 percent lower than the 10-year average for national maize production. Relatedly, following the poor harvest, 42 of the 60 rural districts were classified as having just 0-3 months of cereal self-sufficiency for the 2024/25 consumption year (April 2024 - March 2025). With around 309,000 MT in the strategic grain reserves as of April 9, 2024, Zimbabwe will need to import significant amounts of cereal for the 2024/25 consumption and marketing year to meet the national annual cereal requirement of 2.2 million MT. Since South Africa will likely have a reduced exportable maize surplus this marketing year, maize imports are largely anticipated to come mainly from South America. 
    • Following the introduction of the new Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) local currency in April, there has been relative stability in exchange rates and ZiG prices of commodities and services in May. The USD prices are stable but remain high. Staple cereal prices have not reduced as typical during the harvest or immediate post-harvest period. Rather, prices remain atypically high and continue to increase in some areas. Where available, maize grain and small grains are selling between 9-12 USD per 17.5 kg bucket (0.51-0.66 USD/kg) across parts of the country, compared to 3-5 USD per bucket (0.17-0.29 USD/kg) after a good harvest. Maize meal is readily available across the country, except in some remote rural areas, and prices range from 6-8 USD per 10 kg bag, which is above normal. Households are likely to increasingly rely on maize meal and other non-staple cereals due to the shortage of staple grain on the market. 
    • The poor/failed harvests across the country negatively impacted household access to agricultural labor opportunities and income from crop sales. Most poor households are expected to remain reliant on off-own-farm income and try to expand and intensify their engagement in different livelihood and coping strategies to meet their food needs. However, increased competition and limited demand will likely limit earnings and household purchasing capacity. The early start of the 2024/25 lean season will likely deepen the erosion of livelihood assets as households seek to earn income for food purchases and can further negatively impact the capacity of households and communities to cope with future shocks. The government, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), and the United Nations have launched appeals for humanitarian and other interventions to support households affected by the drought.   

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Zimbabwe Key Message Update May 2024: Constrained access to income is anticipated for many households following the drought, 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.

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