Nearly 13 million people in Southern Africa face extreme food shortages between now and April 2003. Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia are particularly affected. Donor countries need to fund a major emergency food aid operation immediately. But in the long-term the food crisis will recur unless the right to food for all is put top of the agenda of international financial institutions and governments both inside and outside the region, and policies changed. The magnitude and centrality of the food crisis in Zimbabwe poses a special challenge.