Zimbabwe Key Message Update: An increased reliance on markets, coupled with sharp price hikes, reduce household food access, September 2021
A growing number of households are experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in deficit-producing areas as they have nearly or completely depleted their own-produced food stocks and begin to rely on markets. These areas are expected to deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) starting in October, while most surplus producing areas will continue to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes throughout the outlook period. Urban areas are expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) as poor households face challenges meeting their basic needs given low incomes and above-average prices.
In September, prices of most basic food and non-food commodities increased mainly in ZWL, continuing the trend of recent months. Parallel market exchange rates saw jumps of up to 15 percent, contributing significantly to price increases. Maize grain prices went up in ZWL by between 10 and 15 percent across FEWS NET’s main sentinel markets. Overall, ZIMSTAT reported marginal annual and monthly inflation increases and a 4.8 percent rise in both the minimum amounts required to access basic food and to cover total household food and non-food requirements.
The government eased most COVID-19 restrictions in early September, allowing for improvements in transportation availability, economic activity, and some recovery of livelihood and income-earning opportunities, mainly in the informal sector and in urban areas. However, improvements in income are expected to be limited as national borders remain closed to non-essential goods and services, continuing to constrain informal cross border activities, remittance flows, and other livelihood activities.
An above-normal rainfall forecast across the country for the 2021-22 agricultural season and above-average 2021 crop harvests – which can be used in-kind to pay for labor – are expected to enhance agricultural labor opportunities during the outlook period. Some households have already begun land preparation for the upcoming agricultural season, including conservation farming activities, such as holing and mulching. However, most households lack adequate agricultural inputs – as prices for these items are beyond what most households can afford – and will need assistance to procure them.
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