By ETimes

The COVID-19 pandemic created an urgent need for timely information to help monitor and mitigate the socio-economic impact of the crisis. The information was deemed essential to inform the policy formulation, implementation and evaluation process.

The Zimbabwe Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) along with various partners conducted surveys to see how households were coping with the pandemic.

The survey was based on the Poverty, Income, Consumption and Expenditure Surveys (PICES) of 2017 and 2019.

The 5 series surveys used a sample of 1 747 households in the first round, 1 639 households in round two, 1 235 households in round 3, 1 319households in round 4, and 1 093 households in round 5, from all ten provinces of Zimbabwe

According to the PICES report, the main source of income for households was wage employment, which increased from 20 percent in round 4 to 28 percent in round 5.

During the period under review, assistance from the family within the country increased from 19 percent in round 4 to 26 percent in round 5. This was followed by assistance from NGOs, which stood at 24 percent in round 5, compared to 7 percent in round 4.

Non-farm family business as the main source of income decreased from 17 percent in round 4 to 11 percent in round 5. Concurrently, other sources of income for households in round 5 were assistance from the Government and remittances from abroad.

It was shown that remittances from abroad decreased marginally from 11 percent in the fourth round to 8 percent in the fifth round, as in round 5 remittances from abroad were broken into formal and informal remittances, which stood at 4 percent of the households for each type of remittance.

During the period of the survey, the share of households that were able to buy basic food items was mixed in round 5, even though the proportion of people who needed to buy remained high.

The ability to buy maize-meal at the national level increased to 53 percent in round 5 from 38 percent in round 4. But, in urban areas, the ability to buy maize-meal declined to 54 percent in round 5 compared to 59 percent in round 4. In rural areas, the ability to buy maize-meal increased significantly from 24 percent in round 4 to 53 percent in round 5.

Nationally, the proportion of households that were able to buy cooking oil increased from 56 percent in round 4 to 77 percent in round 5. However, in urban areas, the proportion of households that were able to buy cooking oil dropped from 67 percent to 44 percent in round 4 and round 5, respectively.

Furthermore, the proportion of households that were able to buy cooking oil in rural areas increased sharply from 49 percent in round 4 to 89 percent in round 5. The proportion of households that were able to buy chicken, nationally, decreased marginally from 26 percent in round 4 to 25 percent in round 5.

Morever, the proportion of households that were able to buy chicken in urban areas also decreased from 49 percent in round 4 to 33 percent in round 5. However, the proportion of households that were able to buy chicken in rural areas increased from 12 percent in round 4 to 22 percent in round 5.

With a bumper harvest in the 2020 to 2021 agricultural season, the need to buy maize-meal appears low as households may consume these food items from own produce.

Only 59 percent of the households were willing to buy maize-meal during the period June to July 2021. Households in rural areas are less willing to buy chicken compared to their urban counterparts in all rounds as they are more likely to consume own produce chicken – Harare

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