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Food stocks from the favorable 2022 A Season harvest are supporting Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food security outcomes across most of the country. The Northern and Eastern Lowlands livelihood zones continue to experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food security outcomes due to limited access to income from cross-border trade because of COVID-19 related border restrictions and political disagreements with Rwanda and localized below average 2022 A Season production.
In April, fuel prices increased to an average of 3188-3488 BIF/liter, around 30 percent higher than January 2022. The rise in fuel prices will likely result in higher transportation and food costs. Compared to the five-year average, transportation and the average maize price is around 25 percent higher than the five-year average, but maize prices are around 17 percent lower than last year. However, the sanitation imports ban of maize that has been in effect since March 2021, limited cross-border travel due to COVID-19 control measures, and low availability of foreign currency for imports are likely to result in lower than normal food imports in Burundi.
Most crops in the 2022 B season are in the vegetative stage and generally favorable conditions. Nationally, the bean, tuber, and maize harvest is expected to be normal to above normal despite localized areas impacted by pockets of dryness in southern Burundi, localized hail and strong winds, and localized Fall Army Worm (FAW) attacks on maize crops. Key informants indicated farmers planted normal areas but farmers, particularly better-off farmers, had low access to mineral fertilizers. However, farmers increased their application of organic fertilizers such as compost and manure to fill the fertilizer gap.
Humanitarian food assistance distributed in March is driving Minimal! (IPC Phase 1!) food security outcomes for the approximately 54,300 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) living in five refugee camps and two transit centers, and the approximately 1,300 returnees, 15,900 moderately malnourished pregnant and lactating women, and 11,200 children. However, the around 36,000 returnees who arrived between September and December are likely to have exhausted the three-month rations they received upon arrival and will likely be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the B season harvest in June, with limited access to income.
Household food availability and access improved in March and April following the completion of the 2022 A Season crop harvest, which is estimated nationally to be above average. The harvest is expected to cover the food needs for most households through the April to May lean period. In March 2022, a WFP/FSMS assessment indicated that most household food stocks from the 2022 A Season in Burundi are likely to last around two and a half months through the minor March-May lean season. However, the assessment's findings estimate that 30 percent of households in localized areas of the Northern and Eastern Lowlands livelihood zones are likely to exhaust their food stocks from the 2022 A Season by mid-April, with households becoming reliant on market purchases for food. These households were the most affected by localized below-normal harvests and remain unable to engage in cross-border income-earning opportunities due to COVID-19 control measures and the closure of the Burundian side of the border with Rwanda.
Following the planting of the main B Season in February and March, the B season crops are in the vegetative crop growth stages and in good condition despite some below-average rainfall in localized areas of Burundi, along with localized damage from hail and strong winds (Figure 1). Additionally, satisfactory to sufficient soil moisture, is also supporting crop development, with crops largely expected to be in good condition across most of Burundi (Figure 2; Figure 3). However, there are reports of localized Fall Army Worm (FAW) infestations in the Northern and Eastern Lowlands and Imbo Plains livelihood zones (Figure 4). Key informants expect the damage to result in a 5 to 10 percent decrease from the normal harvest in the affected areas.
In March 2022, a national WFP/FSMS assessment indicated that 71-99 percent of households across livelihood zones reported a Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS) indicative of Minimal (IPC Phase 1), consuming five to 12 food groups over the past 24 hours. Additionally, 81 and 87 percent of households nationally reported a household hunger scale (HHS) of zero and an acceptable food consumption score (FCS) indicative of Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes, indicative that most households are likely facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes.
In March 2022, the consumer price index was 141.9 percent, a 1.1 percent increase from February 2022 and around 13 percent higher than March 2021. In particular, transportation costs in March 2022 are 9.5 percent higher than last year and around 3.5 percent higher than in February 2022. However, there was a 2.5 percent decrease in the consumer price of bread and cereals, likely driven by the recent 2022 A season harvest.
In March 2022, the national average maize price was 884 BIF/kg, around 13 percent lower than February 2022 and almost 17 percent lower than prices in March 2021 following a favorable 2022 A season harvest. However, maize prices in March 2022 are almost 23 percent higher than the five-year average due to inflation, the maize import ban, and the impact of the COVID-19 control measures on cross-border trade. In March 2022, bean prices are 5 percent higher than in February 2022 but 19 percent lower than prices last year and 4 percent lower than the five-year average, supported by two consecutive above normal bean harvests in the 2021 B and 2022 A seasons.
Although direct imports from Russia and Ukraine to Burundi are negligible, an estimated 95 percent of sunflower oil is re-exported to Burundi and Rwanda from Egypt, which receives all of its sunflower oil from Russia. However, in 2020, sunflower oil was around 8 percent of Burundi’s imported vegetable oils, with around 89 percent of seed oil imports being palm oil. However, local seed oil prices in Burundi are likely to rise due to the global trade disruptions and related higher import costs.
Relatedly, Burundi imported around 13 percent of fertilizers directly from Russia and Ukraine in 2020, but 60 percent of its fertilizers from Tanzania, which imports approximately 24 percent of its fertilizer directly from Russia and Ukraine. However, data from available FEWS NET livelihood baselines indicate that very poor and poor households typically spend around 1 percent or less of their annual income on fertilizer purchases, while middle and better-off households spend up to 5 percent of their annual income on fertilizers. Wheat is estimated to be around 12 percent of total cereal demand in Burundi. Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022, wheat prices for flour milling companies have increased by 30 percent, with bread prices increasing by 20 percent. However, given the low reliance on wheat, households are likely to increase their reliance on maize and rice due to increasing wheat prices. Overall, the low reliance on commercial fertilizers and the largely indirect trade routes between Burundi and Russia and Ukraine is likely to result in local market prices reflecting the rise in international shipping costs and the global increase in the price of goods. Urban and peri-urban households are likely to be the most affected due to their reliance on market purchases.
The continued ban on maize imports into Burundi continues to have an impact on food assistance operations. As of March 2022, the maize stock-out has led WFP to suspend school feeding, likely impacting around 162,400 children. In March 2022, WFP provided food and nutritional assistance to around 54,300 refugees, distributing 253 metric tons of in-kind food and over 392,200 USD in cash transfers. Each beneficiary received in-kind food rations equivalent to 120g of pulses, 25g of oil, and 5g of iodized salt per day, and 12,700 BIF per person per month in the place of cereals, equivalent to around 93 percent of the daily kilocalorie requirement per person per day. However, in April 2022, refugees will receive a full ration of pulses and vegetable oil and 35 percent of the cereal ration. Food and nutritional assistance was also provided to around 1,300 Burundian returnees who received rations equivalent to 360g of cereals, 120g of legumes, 25g of vegetable oil, and 5g of iodized salt per person per day for a three-month return package. Additionally, around 15,900 moderately malnourished pregnant and lactating women and girls, and around 11,200 children under the age of five received 96 metric tons of specialized nutritious food in the provinces of Cankuzo, Kirundo, Ngozi, and Rutana. However, WFP is warning that it will face shortfalls in all food commodities beginning in May. As of April 2022, Burundi’s Humanitarian Response Plan for 2022 is 6 percent funded, with around 11 million USD received out of a requested 182.4 million USD.
The assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario discussed in the February 2021 to September 2021 Food Security Outlook Report remain unchanged except for the following:
- Cross-border incursions by armed groups, primarily active in Congo, will likely continue to occur at recently reduced levels, with sporadic frequency through September 2022 in the border areas of Cibitoke, Bubanza, and Kibira Natural Reserve provinces. The expected violence may impact civilian populations but is not expected to affect food and income sources significantly. Furthermore, inter-security clashes in border areas with Rwanda are expected to remain limited following the reopening of Rwanda’s border on March 7, which marked a reduction in political tensions between the two countries.
- Urban and peri-urban households are likely to be the most impacted by the rise in the price of goods as global prices increase. The increase in fuel prices is likely to increase transportation costs and result in higher food prices. However, the upcoming 2022 B season harvest in June and the start of the 2022 C season are likely to support household food availability.
The Eastern and Northern Lowlands livelihood zones are expected to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food security outcomes throughout September 2022. Due to the high price of COVID-19 tests to cross the Tanzanian border and the closure of the Burundian side of the Rwandan border, poor and very poor households in the Eastern and Northern lowland livelihood zones will continue to face below-average access to income from cross-border trade and labor opportunities through the scenario period. In the Northern lowland livelihood zone, the below-normal 2022 A Season crop harvest is likely to also drive area-level Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food security outcomes through May.
With an expected normal 2022 B season harvest in June, very poor and poor households are likely to use some of their income from crop sales to repay credit used to buy seeds and food from February to June. However, below-normal access to income from cross-border trade and cross-border labor opportunities are likely to limit household access to typical income-earning opportunities. Households are likely to sell more than typical of the 2022 B Season crop harvest and seek income-earning opportunities from petty trade and casual labor to earn income. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes will likely persist in the Northern and Eastern Lowland Livelihood zones due to likely price increases in the price of non-food needs following increases in transportation costs and the global increase in prices. Across other livelihood zones, normal access to income is likely to support normal food access during the remainder of the minor lean season (March-May). The anticipated normal 2022 B crop production and continued normal access to income are likely to support Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes for most households in Burundi through September 2022. Most IDPs, returnees, and refugees will likely experience Minimal! (IPC Phase 1!) food security outcomes throughout the outlook period supported by humanitarian assistance.
Source: Climate Hazards Center UC Santa Barbara
Source: FEWS NET/USGS
Source: FEWS NET
Source: FEWS NET
This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.