Zimbabwe Faces Food Insecurity Amid 2023/2024 Drought

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Over 7.7 million people, or 51% of the population, will require food assistance due to severe drought

HARARE – The Zimbabwean government has reported that a staggering 7.7 million people, or 51% of the population, will require food assistance between May 2024 and March 2025 due to the severe impact of the 2023/2024 El Niño-induced drought.

According to the Second Round of Crops, Livestock and Fisheries Assessment and the Rapid Village-based Food Assessment, 6 million people in rural areas and an additional 1.7 million in urban areas will require assistance. 

This excludes a further 4.5 million who would require school meals.

The Assessment revealed that 65% of urban households are food secure, while 35% are food insecure, translating to 1,732,770 people. The drought has had a devastating impact on agricultural production and productivity, with the area planted to maize, the country’s staple crop, 12% lower than the previous year. Overall cereal production is estimated to have decreased by 77% to 744,271 metric tonnes, well below the national requirement.

The livestock sector has also been severely affected, with the loss of 9,941 cattle due to water and grazing shortages. Going forward, 47% of the wards are expected to face critical grazing shortages from July 2024 onwards.

In response to the crisis, the government has, through the weekly Cabinet briefing, assured citizens that Zimbabwe will emerge from this drought stronger, more united, more resilient, better organized, better coordinated, and better capable of withstanding similar shocks in the future.

The government has said, it is working to address the food security concerns and support affected communities.

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