Consecutive years of drought conditions expected to significantly impact crop and livestock prospects
• As a result of the poor and volatile macroeconomic conditions, humanitarian assistance delivery mostly shifted modalities from a mix of cash and in-kind food assistance to purely in-kind assistance in late December. Despite the modality shift, funding shortfalls, and resultant delays in assistance distribution in January, Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are present in parts of the country. Areas not receiving significant levels of assistance or no assistance at allare currently experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Humanitarian partners have indicated plans to scale-up assistance beginning in February. As a result more areas will most likely be in Stressed! (IPC Phase2!). The anticipated below normal harvest in May/June is expected to drive Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in worst-affected areas.
• Rainfall in mid-January resulted in improved crop conditions in parts of the country, mainly across the Mashonaland Provinces, following prolonged dry spells. The rest of the country received little to no rainfall resulting in continued drought conditions in most areas. This has resulted in significantly below normal cropped areas, permanent and near-permanent crop losses, persistent water and pasture challenges, and continued cattle deaths. As of late January, a high proportion of farmers in some districts have yet to start planting. Fall Armyworm is being reported across most of the country with African Armyworm incidences reported in parts of the Midlands Province.
• Most markets across the country have very little to no maize grain and maize meal. Where maize grain is available, mostly in key urban markets such as Mbare in Harare and Renkini in Bulawayo, prices are significantly above average and unaffordable for poor households. Most commercial millers have not been producing maize meal as national maize grain supply is critical and also resulting from operational challenges experienced in the implementation of government’s maize grain subsidy program. Limited stocks of maize meal are available on the black market but at exorbitant prices.