Zimbabwe Turns to Brazil for Corn Imports Amid Severe Drought

Zimbabwe turns to Brazil for corn imports as severe drought decimates regional crops, leaving millions at risk of starvation across southern Africa. Stakeholders collaborate to provide urgent assistance and build resilience.

Trim Correspondents
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Zimbabwe Turns to Brazil for Corn Imports Amid Severe Drought

Zimbabwe Turns to Brazil for Corn Imports Amid Severe Drought

Zimbabwe is considering importing corn from Brazil for the first time since 2014 due to a severe drought caused by the El Niño weather pattern. The dry spell has slashed South Africa's corn crop by at least 20% and Zimbabwe's by about 60%, leading Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to declare states of national disaster.

The Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe plans to import over 300,000 tons of corn from Brazil, as the white corn variety used for staple foods is not readily available internationally. The imports are likely to be more costly than those from South Africa due to the need for sea transportation and longer delivery times, adding to inflationary pressures in Zimbabwe. However, the move is considered a progressive step as regional maize supplies are expected to be tight in the coming quarters.

Why this matters: The drought-induced corn shortage in Zimbabwe and other southern African countries is putting millions of people at risk of starvation. The situation highlights the need for collaboration among stakeholders to effectively respond to the growing food assistance needs in the region.

According to the US Agency for International Development (USAID), over 20 million people across southern Africa will need food assistance during the January-March 2024 lean season, and the situation could worsen in 2025. The drought has resulted in poor harvests in parts of southern Zimbabwe, southern Malawi, southern Mozambique, and southern Madagascar.

The southern African region is experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades, with millions facing extreme food insecurity and water shortages. The drought has decimated livelihoods across the region, with farmers in Mozambique and Zambia reporting it as one of the worst they've experienced.

Stakeholders, including the UN and the African Risk Capacity (ARC) Group, are working to provide urgent food and cash assistance, as well as facilitate early response through insurance payouts. The ARC Replica program, which allows humanitarian actors to take out insurance on behalf of a country, is also expected to provide additional resources to reach vulnerable populations.

The crisis in southern Africa, exacerbated by the El Niño-induced drought, has left millions facing starvation and water shortages. Stakeholders are collaborating to provide urgent assistance and build resilience in the region, with the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe turning to Brazil for corn imports to address the severe shortage. The situation highlights the importance of instruments like the ARC solution in facilitating recovery efforts and supporting Africa's resilience-building initiatives.

Key Takeaways

  • Zimbabwe to import corn from Brazil due to severe drought, 60% crop loss.
  • Drought in southern Africa puts 20M at risk of starvation in 2024 lean season.
  • Stakeholders, including UN and ARC, provide food/cash assistance and insurance payouts.
  • ARC Replica program allows humanitarian actors to insure on behalf of countries.
  • Drought highlights need for collaboration and resilience-building initiatives in the region.