Zimbabwe’s poverty datum line rises

The amount of money needed by a family of five to be deemed not poor has risen to ZWL$ 142 585 in the month of November at a time majority of people are languishing in poverty data from Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency   (Zimstat) has shown.

Last month total consumption poverty line was ZWL$140 570.

According to Zimstat TCPL stood at ZWL$28 516,73  per person which translate to ZWL$142 585 for s standard  family of five people.

“The Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) for Zimbabwe stood at $28,516.73 per person in November 2022. This means that an individual required that much to purchase both non-food and food items as at November 2022 in order not to be deemed poor. This represents an increase of 1.3 percent when compared to the October 2022 figure of $28,144.07,” Zimstat said.

This comes after Zimbabwe’s annual consumer price inflation  was pegged at 268.8% in October of 2022, from 280.4% in the prior month.

The poverty datum lines vary by province as prices vary from place to place. The differences are explained by differences in average prices in the provinces.

The quantities of commodities consumed at base year in the minimum needs basket which is consistent with the preferences of the poor individuals and households in Zimbabwe are fixed. The variations in the value of the basket are explained by changes in average prices.

The food poverty line (FPL) as at November 2022 stood at

$21,652.27. This means that the minimum needs basket cost that much per person in November 2022. This represents an increase of 0.9 percent over the October 2022 figure of $21,454.60.

With effect from November 2020, ZIMSTAT is now producing the Poverty Datum Lines (PDL) using the lower bound poverty line. The method refers to the sum of food poverty line and the average amount derived from non-food items of households whose total expenditure is equal to the food poverty line.

The food poverty line (FPL) represents the amount of money that an individual will require to afford the minimum required daily energy intake of 2 100 calories.

The total consumption poverty line (TCPL) which is naturally higher than the FPL was derived using 2017 PICES data and using the lower bound poverty line method. It was derived by computing the non-food consumption expenditures of poor households whose consumption expenditures were just equal to the FPL. The amount was added to the FPL, if an individual does not consume more than the TCPL, he or she is deemed poor.

In a consolidated report titled Impact of the Ukraine Crisis in Zimbabwe released last month, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said the Russia-Ukraine conflict  was threatening development gains and hindering progress towards achievement of sustainable development goals.

“The cost of living, which has been steadily increasing since August 2021, showed initial signs of deceleration in October 2022. However, the situation is still precarious because inflation still remains very high, the lean season has begun earlier than typically, high costs for agricultural inputs particularly fertiliser are being observed, and there is a possibility of a delayed start to the rainy season in the primary crop-producing northern regions of the country.Headline inflation remained high in September at 280%, five (percentage) points below the previous month. The inflation in the country remains one of the highest globally and the only country in southern Africa with headline inflation above 50%,” the report reads.

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