Claim: Zimbabwe is now food secured – President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Verdict: False! According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Report and other credible data, Zimbabwe is not food secured and still relies on humanitarian support.
The President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has said that his country is currently food secured.
The President made this claim at the just-ended Dakar Summit 2 on Food Sovereignty and Resilience, which took place from 25 to 27 January 2023 with a focus on harnessing Africa’s food and Agriculture potential.
In a video posted on YouTube, the Zimbabwean President said: “In Zimbabwe, we have adopted a basic philosophy which is village philosophy.
1. We say the people of that country must rule the country.
2. The people of that country must develop a country.
3. A country must eat what it kills; that is village wisdom.
“In Zimbabwe, we have problems with food insecurity, and we ask how much food we need per year to feed our country. We know we need two million metric tonnes of grain. So we say because there’s climate change, how many hectares of land can we put under irrigation to produce the two million plus metric tonnes of grains we need to feed the nation?
“Once you have done that, you know how many hectares you must put under irrigation to achieve the grain you want to feed the nation despite climate change; that we’ve done, and it is now food secured.”
There has been a recent discussion on food security globally, especially in Africa. For this reason, DUBAWA decided to fact-check the claim by the Zimbabwean president.
A report by the World Food Programme predicted that in 2020, more than 7.7 million people – half the population of people living in Zimbabwe would face food insecurity at the peak of the lean season, as poor rains and erratic weather patterns hurt crop harvests and livelihood prospects.
According to WFP’s HungerMap LIVE monitoring platform, which collects data from Zimbabwe’s rural and urban households, about 5.2 million people were estimated to have insufficient food consumption during the first week of January 2023. A decrease of 10% or 600,000 people from 5.8 million was also reported during the last week of November 2022, and 100,000 less than 5.3 million in October.
The number of people who were resorting to ‘crisis and above’ food-based coping strategies was estimated at 8.0 million, an increase of about 200,000 people from the 7.8 million reported in November and 400,000 from 7.6 million in October 2022.
This report was initially conducted in 2022 and published on January 18, 2023, a week before the conference in Dakar.
Also, the 2022 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment (ZIMVAC) report published on the Food Security Cluster website projected 3.8 million rural individuals to be food insecure at the height of the 2022/23 lean season in the country.
The report further states that expansion of Phase 3 IPC outcomes by January 2023 for much of the southern parts of Zimbabwe, as well as pockets in the northern surplus-producing districts of the country, have further eroded the buying power of many households. This results in an impaired ability to meet basic household needs.
According to another March 2022 research conducted by The Borgen Project, a nonprofit organisation addressing poverty and hunger, nutrient deficiencies were seen as prevalent throughout Zimbabwe. Eight of Zimbabwe’s 59 districts” had an unprecedented acute malnutrition rate of more than 5% in 2020 due to hunger.
An analysis conducted by Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, a projection for March to January 2021, indicates that 2.61 million people (27% of the analysed population) in rural Zimbabwe are faced with high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above).
However, nearly 2.9 million people (29%) are Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Food insecurity is primarily due to shocks and hazards experienced in the country, such as drought, reduced livelihood opportunities due to restrictions linked to COVID-19, pests and diseases, and high food prices.
On April 7, 2021, the Zimbabwean Minister for Agriculture, Anxious Masuka, was quoted to have said that the country is targeting to attain food security by 2022 and to increase household income by 100 per cent by the year 2024.
In 2022, the European Union allocated €6.8 million in humanitarian assistance to the Zimbabwean Government. This funding includes €4 million to address food insecurity of the most vulnerable urban population, with multi-purpose cash assistance.
However, President Emmerson Mnangagwa claimed food security status on December 14, 2022. He was reported by the Voice of America website as saying Zimbabwe is now food secure and will not import food until next year; (i.e.) 2023.
The claim that Zimbabwe is food-secured is false. Available data shows that Zimbabwe received funding support to address food insecurity in 2022 when the president announced food security.