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Stressed (IPC Phase 2) persists in eastern and northern Burundi at the start of Season A harvest

  • Key Message Update
  • Burundi
  • December 2022
Stressed (IPC Phase 2) persists in eastern and northern Burundi at the start of Season A harvest

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected through May in the Eastern and Northern Lowlands and Eastern Arid Plateaus livelihood zones, driven by localized reductions in income from household bean crop sales, agricultural labor, and cross-border trade as well as high staple food prices. Border-crossing fees related to COVID-19 testing remain a constraint on trade-related income for poor and very poor households, particularly on the northern and eastern borders. On the other hand, households in the rest of Burundi still have sufficient food stocks from previous harvests and relatively more stable income sources, which will play a critical role in sustaining Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes through May.

    • Below-average rainfall in September and October delayed and reduced Season A crop cultivation in the Eastern Arid Plateaus, Eastern Lowlands, and Buragane livelihood zones. Although rainfall was nationally abundant in November and December, which did relatively improve the vegetative stage development of maize and beans and relatively increase demand for agricultural labor, the impacts of early-season rainfall anomalies are expected to result in slightly below-average Season A production and lower labor-related income in these areas. Elsewhere in Burundi, localized areas in the north and west received heavy rains and high winds, destroying crops and infrastructure for a small share of the population.

    • In the east and north, the delay in planting Season A crops will cause Seasons 2023 A and 2023 B to overlap. Although farmers have reserved an estimated 15 percent of plots for Season B, some plots will remain occupied by Season A crops in February, which is the normal ploughing period for Season B. While farmers will be able to somewhat mitigate the impact by planting short-cycle crops after Season A crops are fully harvested, this anomaly is expected to somewhat reduce Season B cultivation and labor demand.

    • Staple food prices have remained high since March 2022 due to local and regional crop production deficits, increased regional competition for supplies, and high fuel prices, the latter of which is exacerbated by limited fuel supplies. In November, average national price of maize and beans rose 25 and 35 percent, respectively, compared to last month and 30 and 65 percent, respectively, compared to the five-year average. High food and fuel prices are a large component of high inflation in Burundi, which reached 26.8 percent in November on annual basis compared to 22.1 percent in the previous month. While crop production and labor income are mitigating the impact of high food prices in general, high food prices are likely pushing a rising number of poor and very poor households into Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in the deficit crop-producing areas of the Imbo Plains livelihood zone and peri-urban areas around Bujumbura.

    • In November, WFP provided 56,000 refugees and asylum seekers with 320 MT of in-kind food and USD 550,000 in cash-based transfers, likely resulting in None! (IPC Phase 1!) outcomes for these households. Additionally, over 3,700 new Burundian returnees were assisted with a one-time return relief package consisting of three months of in-kind food or cash-based transfers, similarly supporting their food security. However, around 13,000 returnees have arrived since April 2022, at the start of Season B, and they have likely depleted the one-time assistance package. They will likely be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until they complete the Season A harvest.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.

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