Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) says about 1,1 million Zimbabweans will be in need of food between October this year and March next year. In a report released this month, FEWSNET says there will be an acute food shortage throughout the lean season stretching from October this year to March next year, leaving about 1,1 million people especially in the country’s southern region in need of food aid.

“An increasing number of poor households in deficit-producing areas in the south, west, and extreme north have depleted their food stocks in August and are in crisis,” part of the report read.

“These food security outcomes are expected to persist through March 2019. In typical surplus-producing areas in the north and localised high-producing areas in other parts of the country, poor households’ food stocks are declining faster than normal and many are facing challenges meeting their basic livelihood needs.”

According to the report, maize grain supply is erratic or unavailable on informal markets in some deficit-producing areas, including Matabeleland North and South provinces.

“Although the low supply of maize grain and higher supply of maize meal is typical in these areas during the lean season, the low availability of maize grain is occurring earlier than usual,” the report further read.

However, FEWSNET observed that the prices for both maize grain and maize meal were generally stable, even in local currency.

“Marginal price increases are expected throughout the lean season,” FEWSNET observed.

Poor households, the report said, were engaged in typical livelihood activities, though income from these activities is lower than normal and crop sales are limited due to low production, and casual labour opportunities and labour rates were lower than normal due primarily to liquidity challenges.

FEWSNET also observed that livestock conditions in arid areas were declining as a result of poor pasture and water and expected income from livestock sales will be lower than normal.

“Although maize meal and maize grain prices have remained stable, prices for other food and non-food items continue to increase. With lower than normal income and higher prices for many food and non-food items, poor households’ access to food is below average.”

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