The drought, cyclone induced floods and the economic collapse may have the troubled country facing their “worst-ever” food crisis.
According to the United Nations World Food Programme, three out of five won’t have enough to eat by January, because Zimbabwe is likely to run out of corn.
Eddie Rowe, the WFP’s country director, Zimbabwe may have experienced shortages in the last two decades, but this time 3 million of the 8.5 million people are a risk of food insecurity, including people in the city.
“You will have a lot more people hungry in Zimbabwe than ever before,” he said.
“In the past in urban areas the alarm bells were not ringing.”
The government has already declared the crisis a state disaster due to the drought.
Since the country also dropped the US dollar as a currency in February, the local currency dropped to 13.85 to the dollar, making it the weakest currency.
The country is now struggling to find sufficient foreign exchange to fund fuel imports and wheat.
Jee-A van der Linde, an economist at NKC African Economic in Paarl, South Africa, said: “The drought has just exacerbated the situation.
“It will deteriorate to a point where they need foreign aid.”
Zimbabwe’s corn crop is also expected to drop by 54% this year.
Agriculture secretary Rignson Chitsiko said in March that it only had 7 months of grain stockpiles, including corn.
The country is also struggling to import corn to make up for the shortfall.
The white corn preferred by Zimbabweans limits them to only a few potential suppliers, because the yellow is the most common in other countries.
Zimbabwe’s deteriorating infrastructure is also posing another challenge to the crisis.
Due to the rail system falling apart, most imports would have to come by road.
This could make shipments from overseas take a month to get to the ports in neighbouring countries.
Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa, said:
“If they don’t begin importing now, logistics will remain a concern
“There might be too much pressure.
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.