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February to May rainfall forecast now expected to be average

  • Key Message Update
  • Burundi
  • March 2019
February to May rainfall forecast now expected to be average

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • According to key informants, preliminary results from a joint FAO and Government of Burundi crop assessment in March indicate national Season 2019A crop production was likely above the five-year average. Compared to Season 2018A – which was also above average – production of roots, tubers, and bananas reportedly increased by about 7 percent while that of maize and beans decreased by about 5 percent. The updated Season 2019B (February-May) forecast now calls for average rainfall, with a tendency for below average in the south. This is likely to result in average national production in May/June. However, at least 20 percent of households are expected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Areas with populations of concern include Kirundo, Gitega, Ngozi, Kayanza and Muyinga provinces.   

    • In localized areas of Busoni and Kirundo communes that experienced near-total crop failure in January-February, most Season B planting was completed by mid-March, which is considered timely. Despite erratic and below-normal rains in Bugabira Commune, planting was completed by the end of March, which will still support normal harvests if current rainfall is sustained until mid-May. Given ongoing WFP food distribution and other cash and non-cash assistance, affected households in Kirundo province are likely to be in Minimal! (IPC Phase 1) or Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) until the May harvests.

    • According to the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, food prices at the national level were about 12 and 2 percent lower in February compared to last year and January 2019, respectively. Despite some variation between provinces, the price of beans increased by about 5 percent from January to February, while cereal prices remained stable and the price of roots and tubers decreased by about 7 percent. Demand for unskilled labor and the daily wage have been slightly above average during Season B planting and the first weeding stages.

    • As of January 31, 2019, UNHCR, OCHA, and IOM estimated vulnerable populations with humanitarian assistance needs to include 140,000 IDPs, 43,000 Congolese refugees in settlements, and 58,000 returnees. Only 2,880 of nearly 20,000 refugees that have registered for voluntary return were effectively helped to return in January and February, due to severe funding shortfalls for this effort. Original projections that UNHCR and partners would assist 116,000 Burundian refugees to repatriate will likely be difficult to meet without an increase in funding. These populations of concern are most likely Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!), but many would be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the absence of assistance.

    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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