Barter trade is rife in the food-deficit Beitbridge, Gwanda and Mangwe districts where desperate villagers are said to be trading any commodities and household effects just to have a meal.
According to the US-funded Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET), hungry villagers are exchanging cows for about eight bags of maize grain while a goat is fetching 50kg of maize grain in the Gwanda, Beitbridge and Mangwe districts.
However, terms of trade are more favourable in Chiredzi with a beast exchanged for about 1 000kg of maize grain, which is within the expected normal terms of trade.
As more households run out of their cereal stocks, greater chances of unfair terms of trade are expected with those terms likely favouring livestock traders, FEWSNET warned in a report published on Friday.
According to the May 2010 Zimbabwe Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) rural livelihoods assessment, an estimated 1.3 million Zimbabweans would be food insecure at the peak of the 2010/11 hunger season early next year.
About 904 463 rural people are estimated to require food aid between this month and the end of the year.
The highest prevalence of food insecurity is projected to be in Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Masvingo provinces as well as the northern parts of the country which experienced dry spells in the second half of the 2009/10 cropping season.
Other areas worst affected by hunger are Binga, Kariba, Hwange, Chiredzi, Matobo, Mwenezi, Chipinge, Guruve, Centenary and Mount Darwin.Post published in: Analysis