Drought has been an issue in Zimbabwe, but this Famine Early Warning System alert suggests climate is a relatively minor player in the country’s impending food crisis:
This year’s cereal production is expected to meet only 55 percent of Zimbabwe’s requirements, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme. The 2006/07 harvest was severely compromised by poor access to inputs, the underutilization of land and, in the south and west, by El Niño-related drought conditions.
Things are apparently being made substantially worse by Robert Mugabe’s inflation controls, which have had the effect of curbing economic production, making food harder to get:
[T]he implementation of the June price controls resulted in a run on price-controlled commodities and a decline in their production due to the erosion of profit margins. The formal market can no longer maintain a regular supply of basic goods, and sporadic deliveries of these goods are met with long lines that do not allow for everyone to make it into the store before stocks run out.
(Hat tip the excellent Reuters AlertNet)