Zimbabwe’s economy collapses as food shortages rise

HARARE – The number of people facing hunger in Zimbabwe surged because of drought and economic shocks including rising food prices and a shortage of cash, according to a report by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee.

Zimbabwe has experienced intermittent food shortages since the government began an often violent land-reform program in 2000 that resulted in the seizure of mostly white-owned commercial farms.

The situation has been exacerbated by droughts that resulted in the country becoming a net importer of soy, which is mostly used as animal feed, and often corn.

Key Figures

  • The proportion of people facing food insecurity increased to 52% of the population in the capital, Harare, compared with 46% projected last year; the ratio is 33% in the second-biggest city of Bulawayo, compared with 28% previously.
  • In rural areas, the number of people facing hunger is estimated at 51% of population, compared with 28% projected in 2018.
  • Food-insecure rural households require a total 720,707 tons of cereal to meet their needs over 13 months from January, while urban households require 500,320 tons; the country requires $1.45 billion to procure cereals and other foods for food-insecure households.