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FEWSNET: 4 Zimbabwe Regions Facing Acute Food Shortages

FILE: Villagers offload food aid provided by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) at a distribution point in Bhayu, Zimbabwe, September 14, 2016. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) says some regions are facing acute food shortages in Zimbabwe despite increased humanitarian assistance.

According to FEWSNET, a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises in 35 countries, the affected provinces are Matabeleland North and South, Masvingo, some parts of Manicaland and the Midlands regions.

In its latest report on the food situation in the southern African nation, FEWSNET said the situation is expected to last until December 2016.

“Most of the north is experiencing stressed outcomes as own-produced stocks decline and more poor households resort to market purchases. In the absence of food assistance, some areas in the north will transition into crisis (phase) starting October 2016 through March 2017.

“Local maize grain supplies are mostly available across the country, particularly in the northern region and a few localized areas in the south. However, supplies are declining in these areas due to the below average 2015-16 production.”

FEWSNET even noted that the national average maize grain price for August was 17 percent above the five-year average, though prices have stabilized as humanitarian assistance coverage increases.

It said maize meal is readily available in retail outlets across the country and prices are also stable and averaging $0.59/kg in FEWSNET sentinel markets.

“A high number of local millers and the Grain Marketing Board are supplying the markets with maize meal from both locally-procured and imported grain. Most parts of the country are experiencing below-average livelihood options and household incomes following a poor agricultural season and prevailing liquidity challenges.

“Common coping mechanisms for poor households include distress sale of assets and small livestock, labor migration, small-scale informal mining, and petty trading. The water situation for humans and livestock is critical in the south, and this is expected to continue through November.”