Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Food production in Zimbabwe 2

Food production in Zimbabwe

Food production in Zimbabwe has been devastated by a combination of economic 
and political instability, and natural disasters. Recurrent droughts, a 
series of poor harvests, high unemployment (estimated at more than 60%), 
restructuring of the agriculture sector and a high HIV/AIDS prevalence 
rate – at 13.7 per cent, the fifth highest in the world – have all 
contributed to increasing levels of vulnerability and acute food insecurity 
since 2001. This situation has necessitated large-scale humanitarian food 
assistance operations in the country.

While the end of hyperinflation in 2009 had positive effects on food 
availability in the marketplace, Zimbabwe continues to battle poor liquidity 
and high unemployment rates. Despite some progress, challenges remain in 
attracting large-scale investment.

The 2012 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC), which 
estimates the nation’s annual food insecurity levels, predicts that more 
than 1.6 million Zimbabweans will be unable to access sufficient food during 
the peak hunger period, January – March 2013. This is the highest level of 
food insecurity in the past three years. WFP is responding with a Seasonal 
Targeted Assistance programme to help food-insecure households in 40 of the 
country’s 60 rural districts. Meanwhile, WFP continues to implement its 
year-round health and nutrition and social safety net programmes. These 
include support to malnourished HIV/AIDS and TB patients and their 
households, pregnant and nursing mothers, children under five, home-based 
care patients, and forced migrants from neighboring countries.

At 1,076,772 mt, Zimbabwe’s total cereal production for the 2011-12 
production season is one third lower than the previous year. The reduced 
cereal production was mainly due to a reduction in the amount of land given 
to maize cultivation (19% less than the previous year), the late start of 
rains in most areas, prolonged dry spells especially in the southern half of 
the country, late distribution and poor access to seeds and fertiliser. Poor 
agricultural practices, lack of diversified livelihoods and persistent 
macro-economic challenges characterized by a rise in the cost of living have 
also contributed to the current food and income security crisis. 


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