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Below-average rainfall delays the sowing of 2024 Season B crops

  • Key Message Update
  • Burundi
  • March 2024
Below-average rainfall delays the sowing of 2024 Season B crops

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in the Northern Lowlands, Eastern Lowlands, and Eastern Dry Plateaus livelihood zones due to increased food prices, below-average cross-border income-earning opportunities, and below-average 2024 Season A crop production (particularly below-average beans production). On a positive note, in the west of the country, near-average 2024 Season A harvests improved food availability and access in March, supporting Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food security outcomes. 
    • Food prices continued to stabilize in March 2024 as food stocks from Season A harvests were supported at the national level, despite a slight 10 percent increase of bean prices compared to January. The near-average harvests stabilized food prices compared to last year, at prices 5 percent lower for rice, cassava, and sweet potato, and 10 percent lower for beans and maize. However, food prices remain 25 to 45 percent above five-year averages, driven by increased cost of imported food due to elevated national inflation, increased expenses for agricultural inputs, and elevated fuel and transportation costs.  
    • The 2024 Season B started on-time in February and is expected to contribute about 50 percent of the annual harvest, followed by the timely harvests of Season A. Despite increased availability of fertilizers, below-average rainfall between February and March 2024 has delayed sowing activities in around 10 percent of areas reserved for Season B and stressed the germination of about 15 percent of seedlings. Semi-arid regions of the Northern and Eastern Lowlands, Eastern Dry Plateaus, and Imbo Plains have been the most affected by the rainfall deficit.
    • Monthly inflation is stabilizing at around 20 percent compared to January, as most of the macroeconomic indicators, including trade deficit, external debt, foreign currency reserves, and loans remain at critical levels, leading to instability of the Burundi Franc (BIF) and worsening official exchange rates up to 80 percent lower than the parallel market. A critical macroeconomic situation leads to low import capacity, and since traders are depending more on the parallel market to import goods, the prices of imported items – including food and essential non-food items – are increasing.
    • According to WFP, due to funding shortfalls, approximately 56,000 refugees and asylum seekers are receiving about 70 percent of their usual monthly food ration. The shortage of humanitarian assistance is expected to result in Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in these households. Humanitarian food assistance covering a three-month ration has also been provided to 170 returnees, and around 11,000 moderately malnourished children benefited from specialized nutritious food distributions in Cankuzo, Ruyigi, Muyinga, Ngozi, Kirundo, and Rutana provinces. Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are likely among refugees and IDPs.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Burundi Key Message Update March 2024: Below-average rainfall delays the sowing of 2024 Season B crops, 2024.

    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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