Bad credit adds to Zim's food insecurity

Bad credit adds to Zim's food insecurity
Published: 16 December 2013
The drying-up of credit lines to the Zimbabwe government and apparent donor fatigue are pushing up the price of the staple grain, maize, by nearly a third in some droughthit areas compared to a year ago, according to humanitarian organizations and economists.

"Communities, particularly rural ones, are facing a twin evil: food is scarce, and that tends to push prices up. The government has no money to import enough grain so that people can buy it at subsidized levels.

The hungry are therefore forced to buy from private sellers, who charge high prices," Innocent Makwiramiti, an economist and former chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, told IRIN.

FEWSNET said in its Zimbabwe food security outlook covering October 2013 to March 2014 that "prices for both maize meal and maize grain have been increasing", with higher costs in monitored areas ranging between seven percent and 30 percent, caused by "increased demand by many households as cereal stocks from own production finished earlier than in normal years".

Economist Eric Bloch told IRIN: "Prices could have been higher were the humanitarian community not helping with food hand-outs, but who does not know that they are also affected by donor fatigue and their contributions are thus limited? The private sector sells at exorbitant prices."

"Most markets in the maize production areas have reached abnormally high price levels during the quarter."

According to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) market monitor for October 2013, there is increasing demand for food due to shortages, as only 11 percent of rural households are able to meet their own food requirements.

Tags: Zimbabwe, Food,


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