Friday 5 July 2024


The government will struggle to feed hungry Zimbabweans after receiving approximately US$32 million in drought relief aid. Much more is needed to cover food insecure districts.

The country yesterday received US$31,8 million from the African Risk Capacity (ARC) 2023/24 Drought Insurance Payout, with the government getting US$16,8 million. This was complemented by payments to Zimbabwe’s ARC replica partners, the World Food Programme (WFP) and Start Network of US$6,1 million and US$8,9 million, respectively.

In its Food Security Outlook report released this week, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FewsNet), an initiative sponsored by the United States Agency for International Aid, said most households in Zimbabwe had very little to no own-produced food stocks following a poor harvest.

“Many households are expected to have exhausted their own-produced cereal stocks by July, marking an early start to the 2024/25 lean season.

“Water availability is expected to be well below normal. Households are expected to rely mainly on boreholes for water for domestic, livestock and other livelihood uses,” FewsNet said.

The report also indicated that the households are reliant on market purchases or humanitarian assistance for food.

“Additionally, very few households have cereal stocks from the 2023 harvest, as this was either consumed or sold during the previous year.

“Other food crops are also largely unavailable, with the Ministry of Agriculture reporting that groundnut, round nut, sugar bean, sweet potato and cowpea production was around 70 to 80% lower than last year.

“Cash crop production was similarly affected by the El NiƱo, with the tobacco harvest declining to around 235 000 metric tonnes (MT) compared to around 295 000 MT in 2023,” the report added.

The report also indicated that almost all typical deficit-producing areas in the south, west and extreme north of the country are expected to experience area-level crisis outcomes driven by the poor to failed 2023/24 harvests.

“The national annual cereal deficit for the 2024/25 marketing year is expected to be higher than the five-year average. Government and the private sector are expected to import grain to meet national food needs,” FewsNet said.

“National cereal grain prices will likely be higher than last year and the five-year average throughout the outlook period; very marginal to no seasonal price declines are expected this year.

An earlier-than-normal resurgence of price increases is expected in the post-harvest period due to increased market demand and low supplies.”


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