More than half of the population in Zimbabwe are rationing meals due to combined effects of rocketing prices of basic goods, economic headwinds and poor harvests in the last cropping season, a new World Food Programme (WFP) report shows.
Results of the WFP survey found that about 8m people or 52% of the total population of Zimbabwe, have adopted food compromising strategies to cope with the crisis.
Zimbabwe’s current population is 15.4m.
“The number of people estimated to be resorting to ‘crisis and above’ food-based coping strategies was estimated at 8m, which is an increase of about 200,000 people from the 7.8m reported in November and 400,000 from 7.6m in October 2022,” reads part of the WFP report.
The report also shows that the number of Zimbabweans in severe food insecurity have declined by 10 % to 5.2m from 5.8m reported last year.
“According to WFP’s Hunger Map LIVE monitoring platform, which collects data from rural and urban households through mobile surveys on several indicators including food consumption patterns and coping strategies, about 5.2m people were estimated to have insufficient food consumption during the first week of January 2023, a decrease of 10% or 600,000 people from 5.8m reported during the last week of November 2022 and 100,000 less than 5.3m in October. The Midlands, Matabeleland North, Mashonaland Central, West and East reported the greatest increase in insufficient consumption over the last three months,” the WFP report said.
It continued: “The increase in food insecurity levels as the country approaches the peak of the lean season which starts in January is in line with the projections of the 2022 ZimVAC which shows an increase in cereal insecurity from 30% during September to December to 38% between January and March 2022.”
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) projects that vulnerable urban households are likely to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) as the cost of living continues to rise.
FEWSNET projected an intensification of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes between December and January 2023 mainly in typical deficit-producing areas in the south, east, west, and far north as households increasingly rely on the market for staples and other basic food commodities.
Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are likely to continue in the communal areas of the surplus-producing northern districts and urban areas.
Prices of basic food basket commodities were stable between November and December 2022 in both urban and rural markets but remained significantly higher compared to the same time last year.