5 charts that show the scale of Zimbabwe’s food crisis

Zimbabwe faces its worst drought in years (pic: Cynthia Matonhodze/Bloomberg)

The World Food Programme (WFP) says it is rapidly expanding an already sizeable emergency operation in Zimbabwe where drought, flooding and economic meltdown have plunged 7.7 million people – half the population – into severe hunger.

WFP plans to more than double the number of people it is helping by January to 4.1 million.

According to the WFP, Zimbabwe’s hunger crisis is the worst for more than a decade, and is part of an unprecedented climate-driven disaster gripping southern Africa. Temperatures in the region are rising at more than twice the average global rate and ever more erratic rainy seasons are hitting the country’s subsistence farmers hard.

Zimbabwe has had just one normal rainfall season in the last five years, WFP says.

Below, here are charts and graphs from the WFP that paint a picture of the scale of the food crisis that Zimbabwe is facing:

Falling maize output

There is a close correlation between production and food insecurity in Zimbabwe. Maize production has collapsed over the last two years. In 2019, maize production is expected at 776,635 tonnes, far less than the 1,700,702 tonnes produced in 2018. Food insecurity has, in turn, risen sharply.


Rising urban poverty

A staggering 93% of urban households are below the total consumption poverty line. This is the minimum value of food items and non-food items that are consumed by an individual in a month. About 77% of homes are below the Food Poverty Line and are unable to meet basic needs.


Five year trend

Food insecurity has been rising from 2014 to 2019. This year, 5.5 million Zimbabweans are facing the threat of hunger due to poor harvests and the economic crisis.


Poorest towns

Urban poverty is rising sharply. This graph shows how towns rank on the poverty stakes. According to WFP, Norton has been hit the hardest in terms of food insecurity. __________________________________________________________

Poverty map

Some 3.5 million people were already in urgent need of food assistance by October 2019. According to the WFP’s compatible analysis for January to March, it is projected that 4.1 million will be in need of urgent food assistance by January 2020.