>  Issue 12

Zimbabwe: Acute Food Insecurity Situation February - May 2019

  • Between February and May, an estimated 30 percent of Zimbabwe’s rural population (2,878,957 people) require urgent action to protect and save livelihoods, reduce food consumption gaps, and minimize acute malnutrition. 1,891,777 people (20 percent) are in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis), while 987,179 (10 percent) have been classified in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency). Approximately 2,873,301 people (31 percent) are in IPC Phase 2 (Stressed), while 3,668,405 people (39 percent) have been classified in IPC Phase 1 (Minimal).
  • The most affected households are those with minimal or depleted cereal stocks, making them more dependent on market for food purchase, as well as those relying on labour opportunities linked to the preparation of the cropping season. The most severely affected areas classified in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) are Binga (36,912, 25%), Mudzi (28,290, 20%), and Buhera (65,251, 25%), while Kariba has been classified as Phase 3! (Crisis-would be at least one phase worse in the absence of humanitarian food assistance). 50 districts are classified as IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and 8 districts in IPC Phase 2 (Stressed).
  • The current food insecurity is driven by multiple shocks, including climate and economic shocks. During the lean season, households deplete their cereal stock and usually depend on the market. Food prices are currently 50 to 150% above the five year average and are expected to keep increasing throughout the lean season, with extremely negative effects on households’ financial access to food. The current cropping season (2018/19) was marked with late onset of rains, which resulted in abnormally dry conditions, affecting agriculture activities, thereby reducing the income of the most vulnerable households relying on occasional agriculture labour.  Dry conditions have also resulted in high livestock deaths, likely affecting the quality and capacity of beef and milk production.

Actions Needed

  • With almost 3 million people in IPC Phase 3 and 4, immediate live-saving intervention is required. A further 2.86 million in IPC Phase 2 will require livelihood support. A coordinated government and international community response will be required to address immediate needs.
  • The analysis further suggests that the 2019 crop will be below average, the extent of the maize crop production will only be determined when the ZimVac is undertaken in May 2019. It is recommended that the national strategic reserve will be required to bridge the gap before harvest.
  • Households depending most on the market should be supported to ensure the cereal deficit they are facing will not further contribute to the increase of the food gaps and acute malnutrition.
  • In addition to providing targeted assistance, the macroeconomic situation should be widely addressed.
  • Considering the lean season will start earlier than usual, owing to the El Nino conditions, and the maize/cereal production will be lower than last year, and rather comparable to the 2016 one, humanitarian assistance should be planned, taking into account this increased duration of the consumption period.

Population in IPC Phases



IPC Classification Map

Between February and May 2019, 3 districts are classified as IPC Phase 4 (Emergency), 50 districts are classified as IPC Phase 3 (Crisis), 1 district is classified as IPC Phase 3! (Crisis - would be at least one phase worse in the absence of humanitarian food assistance), and 8 districts in IPC Phase 2 (Stressed).

February - May 2019




The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is an innovative tool for improving food security analysis and decision-making. By providing a set of analytical tools and procedures, IPC allows governments and partners to work together to classify the severity and magnitude of acute and chronic food insecurity, and acute malnutrition according to scientific international standards.


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