Food Insecurity in Zimbabwe: Its the Economy, Stupid –



After patchy seasonal rains, there are fears that one of the third of the Zimbabwean population could experience heightened food insecurity due to a shortfall in maize production. Maize accounts for almost 90 percent of the total output in Zimbabwe and is a staple food across Southern Africa. The 2019 maize harvest, which begins in April, is anticipated to be less than one million tons. That result would be a considerable decline from the 1.7 million tonnes that were harvested in 2018.


Food imports are important for Zimbabwean food security and are a major component of those imports. Most of its imported foods from South Africa , which is the largest agricultural producer in the region. The 2019 South African maize harvest is anticipated to be 20 percent lower than the previous season; that could suggest, at a superficial level of analysis, that Zimbabwe could face maize shortage. The previous two South African harvests were significant above the five-year average, however, and the 2019 harvest is expected to be in line with that average.

Large harvests in 2017 and 2018 have left South Africa with a stockpile of almost million tons. There are 500,000 tons of maize in reserve. Any maize production deficit in Zimbabwe could be offset by the release of these reserves and imports from South Africa.

A foreign exchange shortage in Zimbabwe, however, has undermined food security and will continue to do so. Currency reserves are only Sufficient to cover two weeks of imports, leading to the fastest Increase in consumer prices in more than decade. A range of imported commodities has increased sharply since October 2018; for instance, the price of wheat flour doubled compared to the world and the highest in the world .

While expectations of a decline in domestic food production have not helped the situation, Zimbabwe's economic crisis is the main cause of heightened food insecurity.


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