Food security prospects in Zimbabwe for 2012/2013 are the worse in the last three years. During the peak hunger period of January to March 2013, some 1.7 million will be in a condition of food insecurity, a significant increase from 1.3 million last year, according to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment. This represents some 19 per cent of the rural population. The worst affected areas are Matebeleland North and South and Masvingo, as well as parts of Mashonaland, Midlands and Manicaland.
A drop in agricultural production explains much of the increase in vulnerability. Aggregate cereal production for the 2011/2012 season was 33 per cent lower than in 2010/2011, as a result of late rains, prolonged dry spells, especially in the southern half of the country, and poor access to crop inputs. Own cereal production, coupled with market purchases, is the main source of cereals from October to December. The Government Grain Loan Scheme is underway, however, coverage is low. WFP assistance from October 2012 to March 2013 to poor and vulnerable households is expected to ease cereal shortages in drought hit areas. Food prices are expected to increase as we approach the lean season.
Below normal rainfall is forecast for the southern regions of Zimbabwe throughout the coming season which may aggravate conditions in regions hit by the last season drought.