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Below-average rainfall led to crop destruction in Northern Lowlands livelihood zone

  • Key Message Update
  • Burundi
  • January 2021
Below-average rainfall led to crop destruction in Northern Lowlands livelihood zone

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The 2021 A Season has been characterized by a 1.5-month rainfall delay and below-average rainfall in low altitude areas, most severe in the Northern Lowlands. Preliminary results of the Multi-Sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) reported that 17 percent of households (about 36,400 households) in the livelihood zone saw more than 50 percent of their crops destroyed by dryness. Combined with above-average food prices and decreased income sources, the area is expected to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through May. Pockets of poor and very poor households who saw more than 80 percent of 2021 A Season crops destroyed by dryness will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.

    • Following a delayed start of the season in October and November, December to January rainfall in the Imbo Plains was normal and favorable for localized 2021 A Season crop production. While income-earning opportunities in the Imbo Plains have been limited since border closures were imposed in March 2020, households have managed to find new income-earning opportunities in urban areas around Bujumbura and Rumonge. Additionally, with favorable rainfall and crop production, agricultural labor demand is at sufficient levels with income-earning opportunities for staple food and cash crop (rice, palm oil, and coffee) planting and harvesting. Preliminary results from the SMART survey conducted during the September/October 2020 lean period indicated global acute malnutrition (WHZ) prevalence of 4.4 to 6.1 in the area. Considering a favorable 2021 A Season harvest, adequate income-earning opportunities, and acceptable nutritional status, the Imbo Plains livelihood zone is expected to face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes from January to May 2021.

    • Between November and December 2020, bean prices seasonally decreased 16 percent with the onset of the 2021 A Season. However, the decrease in bean prices remains minimal compared to average and last year when bean prices decreased 34 percent between November and December 2019. The difference is driven by the delay of the 2021 A Season harvest, limited supplies on markets compared to the previous year, and the context of high food prices due to border closures and BIF depreciation.

    • According to WFP, nearly 50,000 refugees accommodated in Burundian camps were assisted with 360g of cereals, 120g of pulses, 25g of oil, and 5g of salt per person, per day for 90 days, and are facing None! (IPC Phase 1!) food security outcomes for the outlook period. The 31,000 remaining urban refugees are unassisted and likely experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes, managing to meet their minimum food needs through remittances and some daily wages labor in the capital city. In December, 7,870 Burundian returnees were assisted with 360g of cereals,120g of pulses, 25g of oil, and 5g of salt per person, per day for 90 days. Returnees who are currently receiving their three-months of assistance upon arrival are experiencing None! (IPC Phase 1!) outcomes. Nearly 21,000 returnees who returned before October, however, have already exhausted their assistance and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes until the harvest of the 2021 B Season in May. Following the Rusizi River flooding in December 2020, the number of IDPs has increased, and the 40,000 IDPs are without assistance. Their income sources are limited due to the absence of cross-border activities, driving Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through May.

    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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