Food security improved from July 2020 to March 2021 despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
The capacity to buy food also improved between July 2020 and March 2021, but has remained low mostly among rural households.
Insecurity levels, however, remained low, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) has revealed.
This came out during a virtual seminar on the Dissemination of the Rapid PICES 2020 Top Line Findings yesterday.
ZIMSTAT, together with the World Bank and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), designed a high-frequency telephone survey of households to measure the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 households in Zimbabwe.
ZIMSTAT director-general Mr Taguma Mahonde said the survey provided critical information on the consequences of Covid-19 on households and policy discourse. “Owing to Covid-19, ZIMSTAT suspended most surveys in March 2020, following the announcement of Covid-19 containment measures,” he said.
“Hence, Zimstat decided to proceed by way of telephone surveys on the 1 800 Mini PICES households of 2019. After lockdown, ZIMSTAT was included in the essential services category so that it proceeds with the 2022 population census mapping.”
Mr Mahonde said the variables of the survey included household access to food, medicine, water, education and government assistance. The variables included the economic impact on wage workers family business, farming and non-labour income. The Zimstat survey results indicated that Covid-19 had resulted in a substantial drop in employment.
“Thirteen percent of those who were working pre-Covid-19 no longer worked in July 2020,” the results showed.
“This was 18 percent of the urban population. Employment had recovered slightly by March 2021 when 57 percent of the working age respondents worked.”
According to the report, a significant share of households continued to report reduced income from various sources.
“Food security, however, improved although the security remains high about 10 percent of urban households had access to cash transfers in September 2020 and March 2021,” said Zimstat.
Although the report showed that the capacity to buy food improved between July 2020 and March 2021, but remained low especially among rural households, some participants argued that most rural households produced their own food and did not have to buy.
“The Covid-19 pandemic continued to play a negative role in keeping children out of school,” said Zimstat.
“The main reason for not attending school was that teachers were not yet teaching as reported for 40 percent of those who were out of school.
“Those who feared getting infected constituted eight percent. Almost 40 percent of children were engaged in some form of remote learning.”