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Poor households staring starvation


HARARE- Poor households in southern and western Zimbabwe are faced with starvation due to depleted food stocks, forcing them to skip some meals, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) report reveals.

The FEWS NET Food Security Outlook report issued recently said depleted own-produced food stocks, constrained access to income and high food prices will likely drive food crisis outcomes into early 2024 in typical deficit-producing areas.

“From October to January 2024, area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to emerge across southern and western Zimbabwe as poor households in typical deficit-producing areas increasingly engage in consumption coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) such as skipping meals or reducing meal sizes.

“Most poor households are likely to have depleted their own-produced food stocks and be reliant on seasonally increasing market purchases for food,” the report reads.

The FEWS NET report added that the poor 2023-2024 rainy season induced by El Nino weather phenomenon will lessen income from agricultural labour opportunities.

“However, a below-normal and erratic start to the 2023/24 rainy season will likely lower access to income from agricultural labour opportunities.

“Additionally, increased competition for income from petty trade and self-employment activities and low demand and liquidity among better-off households will likely constrain household earnings, lowering household purchasing power,” reads the report.

The report further noted that domestic and international remittances are expected to remain normal as household members in urban areas or abroad contend with high living costs.

In 2024, February to May is split between the peak of the lean season and the harvest period according to the report.

“February to May is split between the peak of the lean season (February and March) and the harvest period (April and May). During February and March, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to continue in semi-arid southern, eastern, western, and extreme northern areas.”

A below-normal 2023/24 rainy season will compound the situation in the country that is presently in the throes of tanking economy characterised by bouts of inflation.

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