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Below-average harvest drives Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the north and east

  • Key Message Update
  • Burundi
  • March 2023
Below-average harvest drives Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the north and east

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The Season A harvest is improving food availability and access for most areas in March, supporting Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food security outcomes across most parts of the country. However, the Northern and Eastern Lowlands and Eastern Dry Plateaus livelihood zones are anticipated to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, with the highest needs occurring during the April to May lean season. In these areas, the local harvest is estimated to be about 30 percent below average, and households also face below-average income from limited labor opportunities and above-average food prices. They will likely deplete their own-produced food by April and rely on the market to purchase food until the Season B harvest begins around June.

    • The Season A harvest is ongoing in March after a delayed start of around two months. As a result of this delay, around 20 percent of farmland needed for Season B planting is still being occupied by Season A crops. The below-average Season A harvest means that households will have less access to seeds for Season B planting, given that around 30 percent of the seeds used for Season B come from Season A. At the same time, higher bean prices at the national level have reduced farmers’ financial capacity to purchase seeds. Planting for Season B is expected to be completed by end of March, but around 10 percent of farmland is not yet planted. The delay in planting is likely to cause crop yield losses as the typical growth period is already short and is now further reduced by a few weeks. 

    • Although the Season B harvest will most likely be below average, it is expected to provide smallholder farmers with several months of food stocks. It is also anticipated to support a seasonal decline in staple food prices and improve household income due to seasonal labor opportunities. However, poor households will likely still have difficulty affording their essential non-food needs without engaging in food consumption strategies. As a result, only marginal improvement from Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes is anticipated in the Northern and Eastern Lowlands, while Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes will likely persist in the Eastern Dry Plateaus from June to September. 

    • The Season A harvests supported a slight seasonal food price decrease of 5 to 15 percent between January and February at the national level. However, food prices remain 45 to 85 percent above five-year averages and 70 to 150 percent above last year’s averages. Bean and maize price deviations are the highest at 85 and 70 percent above last year’s average, respectively. The main drivers for the high cost of food are the below-average Season A harvest, high cost of production, and high fuel and energy costs.

    • According to information shared by WFP, around 56,000 refugees and asylum seekers are receiving a 75 percent ration of in-kind food and 25 percent ration equivalent of cash-based transfers, covering approximately 100 percent of beneficiaries’ monthly caloric needs. In addition, over 680 returnees received a one-time assistance package covering their basic food needs for three months. However, over 7,000 returnees who arrived between August and December missed the 2022 Season C and 2023 Season A planting periods and have likely depleted their one-time food assistance package. This group will likely be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the Season B harvest in June, with limited access to labor income. Additionally, WFP is targeting around 75,000 Burundians who were displaced by localized floods between late 2022 and early 2023 in the Imbo Plain and Northern Lowlands livelihood zones; they are expected to receive in-kind food and cash assistance covering around 50 percent of their daily caloric needs from March to May. This assistance is expected to prevent food insecurity, indicative of None! (IPC Phase 1!) outcomes, among assisted households until the June harvest.

    Recommended Citation: FEWS NET. Burundi Key Message Update, March 2023. Below-average harvest drives Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the north and east, 2023.

    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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