2.4 million people potentially food insecure

Assistance Fact Sheet - Zimbabwe

September 30, 2018 / updated 26 October 2018


  • Economic challenges and poor rainfall undermine food security in Zimbabwe. Nationally, 92 percent of households in Zimbabwe depend on agriculture as their primary livelihood, according to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC). According to the ZimVAC 2018 Rural Livelihoods Assessment, the number of severely food insecure people is expected to increase to 2.4 million—approximately 28 percent of the rural population—by March 2019.
  • The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) (link is external) projects that Crisis (IPC 3) levels of acute food insecurity will persist across Zimbabwe from October 2018 through early 2019.* Increasing food prices and cash shortages are limiting poor households’ access to food due to low and declining household purchasing power. Many poor households have exhausted their food stocks and have begun engaging in negative coping strategies, such as reducing the number of meals eaten per day, reducing meal size and eating less preferred foods. In areas of the northeast where surplus food crops are grown, populations are expected to face Stressed (IPC 2) levels of food insecurity. However, some poor households will face Crisis levels until 2019.

Food Assistance Fact Sheet - Zimbabwe

* The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a standardized tool that aims to classify the severity and magnitude of food insecurity. The IPC scale, which is comparable across countries, ranges from Minimal (IPC 1) to Famine (IPC 5).


  • In anticipation of the heightened level of need during the 2018/2019 lean season—the period when food is most scarce—USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) provided the UN World Food Program (WFP) (link is external) with more than $22 million in emergency food assistance in fiscal year (FY) 2018, to assist 303,000 food-insecure people over a period of six months. Additionally, with FFP support, WFP provides cash-based transfers for food to more than 10,000 refugees living in Zimbabwe’s Tongogara Refugee Camp. 
  • FFP also supports multi-year development activities through World Vision (link is external) in Masvingo and Manicaland provinces and Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (link is external) in Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces. These programs, begun in 2013, aim to improve the nutritional status of children younger than five years of age, expand and diversify agricultural production, increase household income, and help communities prepare for disasters through risk-reduction activities. With FFP support, WFP also carries out productive asset creation programs to improve food security and income generation during the dry season. Through food- and cash-for-assets activities, FFP partners strengthen infrastructure—such as dams and irrigation systems—that increase households’ resilience to shocks and gradually reduce the need for seasonal food assistance.

Food for Peace Contributions

Total Contributions:


U.S. Dollars

Metric Tons

Fiscal Year 2018

$55.5 million

14,294 MT

Fiscal Year 2017

$56.8 million

40,922 MT

Fiscal Year 2016

$90.9 million


* Metric tonnage does not reflect funding for vouchers or cash transfers.