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Zimbabwe faces post-harvest food insecurity amid economic challenges: report

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Xinhua


The ongoing macroeconomic challenges in Zimbabwe are expected to exacerbate the impact of poor harvests across the country in the post-harvest period, affecting households that largely rely on market purchases for food, said the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), a provider of early warning and analysis on acute food insecurity.

In its assessment report for the period March to May 2024 released to Xinhua Friday, FEWSNET said most households in deficit-producing areas are expected to experience food consumption gaps in the post-harvest period.

Meanwhile, there will be an increase in the number of households having minimally adequate food consumption in the northern areas of the country. This follows the premature cessation of the rainy season around mid-January, leading to significantly below-normal to failed harvests, high food and other commodity prices, and constrained access to markets.

“Staple grain prices are higher than normal as demand and staple grain scarcity on the open market increase. In March, maize grain prices remained significantly above normal and continued to increase in some areas,” FEWSNET said.

FEWSNET noted that the rapid depreciation of the local currency against the U.S. dollar in March is driving further increases in Zimbabwean dollar prices of goods and services. It said that the prices are now increasingly too high for low-income and other households earning in the local currency.

To mitigate the impact of the El Nino-induced drought and enhance food availability and access, the government has removed import duties for rice and other products such as potato seed, cooking oil, and genetically modified maize for stock feed production, with effect from July 2024. The government also plans to grow 120,000 hectares of winter wheat this year, up from 90,912 hectares planted last year, to boost food production in light of the drought.