Trócaire’s David O’Hare in Zimbabwe from Trocaire on Vimeo.
I was delighted to spend time with Thandekile and other members of the community and to get an update on the devastating situation in the region. Farmers I spoke to are estimating that they will lose 75% of their harvest this year, meaning critical food shortages for these communities in the coming months.
Thandekile told me that the growing season was looking quite good, but then there were no rains in February or March and that changed everything.
Coupled with this disastrous harvest is the effect of rising food prices. As in many countries around the world, including here at home, the war in Ukraine has seen the price of food and fuel sky-rocket in Zimbabwe in recent weeks. This is having a profound impact on people who already had very little disposable income.
“The price of food was already going up because of Covid but now everything is costing more – vegetable oil that we cook with, salt, soap, sugar, batteries and candles. The little money I have will have to be spent on food. I don’t know how I will pay for the children’s school fees and fear they will be sent home if I can’t pay,” Thandekile said.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned of an impending food crisis in the country after global and regional food prices spiked upwards following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And according to the Zimbabwe National Vulnerability Assessment Report, chronic malnutrition is already endemic throughout the country.
An estimated 60 per cent of Zimbabweans – or 7.5 million people – face acute food insecurity. Basic food prices keep increasing to such an extent that most urban residents cannot afford to buy food.