The United Nations World Food Program is reported to have said the country’s cereal harvest this season is likely to fall short of Zimbabwe’s national requirements by some 459 metric tonnes.
A report Tuesday by online news service ZimOnline said the WFP’s crop and livestock assessment report concluded 20 of Zimbabwe's 62 districts will not produce enough food to meet local needs.
Masvingo and Matebeleland South provinces and some parts of Manicaland province are among the areas identified as likely to experience local food deficits. The WFP will conduct another survey of households, the report said.
National Director Forbes Matonga of Christian Care, a major Zimbabwean distributor of WFP food aid, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that this year’s deficit could be greater than the WFP projects.
Elsewhere, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe said the cost of living declined slightly in April from March. A family of six needed just over US$492 in April to meet its basic needs, from a little over US$493 in March.
The council attributed the drop to greater availability of locally produced goods, increasing price competition.
But economist Prosper Chitambara of the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe told reporter Brenda Moyo that the decline was marginal and most workers are struggling to get by.
In other activity the Central Statistical Office on Tuesday deployed teams in urban and rural areas to map and list households in readiness for a 2012 census. Government sources said the teams led by state statisticians were expected to visit all districts to ensure most Zimbabweans will be accounted for in the census.
Statistician Khumbulani Gwebu told reporter Gibbs Dube that such groundwork is critical for a successful capture of census data, especially in a country where figures are often challenged by political parties and economists.