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Zimbabwe Food Security Outlook Update, April 2022

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Below-average harvests and above-average prices likely to result in an early onset of the next lean season


• Although the harvest of early planted crops has begun in most areas, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes still persist in a few deficitproducing areas as most plantings were significantly delayed and many farmers experienced crop write-offs during the season. The 2022 harvest is expected at below-normal levels, limiting seasonal improvements and driving Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes in most deficit- as well as in some surplusproducing areas from late April to September, with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes emerging in worst-affected areas by July.
Other surplus-producing areas will have sufficient current harvests and reserves from the above-average 2021 season to maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes. Meanwhile, urban areas are likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) throughout the outlook period given continued below normal income and above-average prices.

• Rainfall received in March and April came too late in the production season to have a positive impact on crops in most parts of the country. The incoming harvest is expected to improve dietary diversity and household consumption; however, crop losses have been significant in most eastern, southern, and western districts. Households in these areas are likely to see only minimal seasonal improvements with some seeing none at all after total crop write-offs, especially for cereals. An early start to the 2022/23 lean season is expected in worst-affected areas.

• On-going macroeconomic challenges, compounded by increasing prices of basic food, fuel, and fertilizers, as well as disruptions in global supply chains are expected to negatively impact low-income households in both rural and urban areas. Spiking parallel market exchange rates will continue contributing significantly to the rising cost of goods and services. Maize meal and bread prices in ZWL increased by approximately 50 and 30 percent, respectively, between March and April. Below-average income with which to purchase foods and other basic needs will continue to limit household access to these items.

• Demand for seasonal agricultural casual labor continues to be below normal and is expected to remain so throughout the outlook period. Income from crop sales is also expected at below normal levels in deficit- and surplus-producing areas alike, given poor harvests. Income from livestock sales is likely to be negatively affected by poor demand in most areas. Typical livelihood strategies such as informal cross-border trade and remittances are recovering, but have yet to reach prepandemic levels. Petty trade and informal mining are therefore expected to increase as coping strategies.