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A near-average 2022 A Season is improving food availability and access for most households in March, supporting Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food security outcomes across most of the country. However, 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 from COVID-19 related border closures and political disagreements with Rwanda and localized below average 2022 A Season production following below-average rainfall, with the most affected households likely facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.
Nationally, household food access is improving as the 2022 A season harvest ends. In March, WFP’s food basket (average cost of 2100 kilocalories per day per person) decreased 7 percent compared to February. In February, maize prices decreased 10 percent compared to January, while bean, cassava, and sweet potato prices have stabilized since January 2022. Additionally, bean prices are 20 percent below prices last year and similar to the five-year average; however, prices of other staple foods are 10 - 15 percent above prices last year and 20 - 30 percent above the five-year average. The increase in food prices is likely due to the continued depreciation of the Burundian franc (BIF), and increases in import costs and fuel prices.
On March 21, the government banned the operation of public and private motorcycles, bicycles, and three-wheel vehicles from Bujumbura city. These modes of transport are cheaper than car taxis and trucks and are widely used to transport goods and people into Bujumbura city. It is estimated that more than 600,000 people in Bujumbura city use these means of transport every day. The disruption to public transport is likely to be reflected in increasing food and transport prices, and the loss of income for an estimated 20,000 operators employed in the sector.
Humanitarian food assistance is driving None! (IPC Phase 1!) food security outcomes for the around 55,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) living in five refugee camps and two transit centers and the 5,500 February 2022 returnees. However, the around 33,000 returnees who arrived between September and December are likely to have already exhausted their food assistance and will likely be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the B season harvest in June, with limited access to income. In April 2022, WFP is also planning to provide rations equivalent to 15 days of required kilocalories per month to 40,000 people in the Northern Lowlands livelihood zone until the B season harvest in June.
This Key Message Update provides a broad summary of FEWS NET's current and projected analysis of likely acute food insecurity outcomes in this geography. Learn more about our work here.