According to the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan, a total of 6 million people are in urgent need of food assistance across Zimbabwe both in rural and urban areas. In addition, 2.8 million small holder farmers are in need of season-sensitive emergency crop and livestock input assistance.
The increased rural and urban caseload due to COVID-19 of 200,000 is bringing the total target to 4.6 million people, according to the HRP COVID-19 Addendum. A further revision of rural food assistance needs will be undertaken when data from the forthcoming assessments are available.
WFP projections indicate that by year’s end, the number of food insecure Zimbabweans will have surged by almost 50 per cent. About 8.6 million people or 60 per cent of the population is expected be food insecure, including 5.3 million people in rural areas and 3.3 million people in urban areas, owing to the combined effects of drought, economic recession and the pandemic.
According to the preliminary results of the quarantine centers assessment conducted by INGOs in June and July 2020, low dietary diversity is a concern in the majority of the assessed quarantine centers. Further, no protection ration such as CSB+ is distributed to people with special dietary needs such as pregnant and lactating women or children under age 5.
According to the latest Weekly Market Monitoring Report for the period from 27 to 31 July 2020 conducted by WFP VAM Unit, availability of maize grain remains low with only 4 per cent of the monitored markets having maize grain. Maize meal trade remains stable across the country, with most districts (19 out of 23) having maize meal available in one or more surveyed markets. The commodity was selling at an average price of ZWL42.70/kg, which is comparable to the price reported over the last two weeks. However, in rural areas most traders had no maize meal stocks, which could be a result of low demand as households consume maize grain from own harvest and farmer to farmer sales or alternatively an indication of poor supply of the commodity. The Zimbabwean Dollar continues its slow but steady loss of value, with this week’s auction on 28 July 2020 pegging the exchange rate against the US Dollar at an average of ZWL76.76:1USD, losing 6 per cent of its value week-on-week.
In July, the Food Security Cluster partners reported reaching over 400,000 people with either in-kind food distribution, cash or vouchers modality in both rural and urban areas.
The Food Security Cluster partners reported to reach over 1.5 million people with either in-kind food distribution, cash or vouchers modality in June 2020 in both rural and urban areas. Among them, 1.3 million people received in-kind food assistance and 78,000 cash based assistance in rural zones, while the remaining 132,000 received cash based support in urban areas. Concurrently, a total of 172,000 people were supported with agriculture and livelihoods assistance. This include 75,000 people who received crop and livestock inputs, 60,000 people supported with extension and advisory services to manage crop pests and livestock diseases, 37,000 assisted with critical assets rehabilitation.
The African Migratory Locust (AML) has spread from its traditional breeding areas in Botswana into new areas in Chiredzi District.
The AML is a priority for the key Food Security Cluster stakeholders since information from various sources indicated that there is a high likelihood that the AML might have already laid their eggs within the soil horizons. However, the AML are a delicacy among the local communities and a source of protein, as such, non-chemical management methods and other containment strategies are being formulated. As such it is recommended to use of an organic-based bio-pesticide which has no residual or detrimental effects on human health, flora or fauna.
The ZimVAC assessments teams have finished field data collection. The report is expected to be released mid-September 2020. ZimVAC management has put in place measures to protect participants of the assessment from COVID19 hence every numerator and supervisor was provided with PPEs.
According to FTS, only 22.4 per cent of the total requested budget was committed as of 3 July 2020. The $489 million budget was designed and adapted to COVID-19 measures to save lives through support to food access for acutely food insecure population and prevent further deterioration of living standards by providing emergency agriculture support.
Challenges for locust control include the lack of fuel for vehicles to track locust as well as the cost of telecommunication.
According to the WFP Weekly Market Monitoring Report for the period from 20 to 24 July 2020, generally, prices of commodities declined during the reporting week. However, these gains are hardly felt by consumers whose purchasing power has long been eroded by inflation and low incomes. The annual inflation was estimated at 737 per cent while food inflation remains the main driver of inflation at 834 per cent. The formal auction trading of the ZWL against stronger currencies shows a week-on-week depreciation of Zimbabwean dollar against foreign currencies as it traded at an average of 1USD: ZWL76.76 on 28 of July 2020 an increase of 6 per cent compared to the ZWL72.12 reported the on 21 of July 2020. Further, maize meal was reported to be available in 50 per cent of surveyed markets.