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Zimbabwe Food Security Outlook, August 2021

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Household food access in some deficit areas declines as own-produced food stocks become exhausted


• In typical deficit-producing areas, households’ own-produced food stocks are depleting with some poor households having already exhuasted their stocks. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes continue in these areas with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) expected to emerge in October as more households likely rely on markets for food. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) is expected across surplus- producing areas, though some areas will deteriorate to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) with the progression of the lean season. Most urban areas are anticipated to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) throughout the outlook period due to continued below-average purchasing power.

• The annual inflation rate continues to decline, down to 50 percent in August according to ZIMSTAT. Despite this, the cost of living continues to increase and is significantly above poor households’ income in urban and rural areas. The cost of food and the total cost of living increased by 3.1 and 3.7 percent, respectively, between July and August. Prices in ZWL for staple foods and most goods and services continue to increase mainly driven by increasing parallel market exchange rates.

• COVID-19 infections and associated deaths have declined since July; however, the government has maintained the Level 4 national lockdown through at least early September. These restrictions, combined with land border closures and transportation challenges are negatively impacting income- generating activities and food access, particularly among poor households in urban areas.

• Despite last season's above-average rainfall, consecutive years of drought are contributing to issues in water availability and access in semi-arid areas in the south, west, and extreme north, negatively affecting domestic and livelihood uses. Pasture and livestock conditions, especially cattle, are also deteriorating due to compounding effects of previous droughts, including poor regeneration of grasses.