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Below-average Season A harvest and high food prices affect north and east

  • Key Message Update
  • Burundi
  • May 2023
Below-average Season A harvest and high food prices affect north and east

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The ongoing Season A harvests and recent enhancements in cross-border trade due to the elimination of COVID-19 related fees have sufficiently increased household stocks and stabilized staple food prices to sustain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes in western Burundi. However, the harvest is below-average, especially in the north and the east; food prices also remain atypically high and income-earning opportunities are limited. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in eastern Burundi, while Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in the Northern Lowlands livelihood zone, where food stocks are already nearly exhausted.

    • In April, staple food prices remain 50 to 85 percent above the five-year average and 70 to 135 percent last year’s averages, with bean and cassava prices rising 77-85 percent above last year. Key factors driving the increased prices are the below-average Season A harvest, lower supply of food compared to previous years, depreciation of the Burundian Franc (BIF), and the high cost of production, including labor, fertilizers, and other inputs. Weak currency reserves are contributing to the depreciation of the BIF, with the parallel exchange rate ranging between 75 and 100 percent above the official exchange rate. Overall, the inflation rate remains high, exceeding 30 percent in the reporting period. The elevated prices are limiting poor households from accessing sufficient and nutritious food, especially in the north, where households have already depleted their own-produced food stocks.

    • Food security outcomes in the Northern Lowlands livelihood zone are expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) after the arrival of the Season B harvest in June. Above-average rainfall in March and April contributed to increased soil moisture levels that were generally favorable for Season B crop development. Additionally, the increased availability of fertilizers and other inputs due to government interventions is likely to support near-average Season B cereal and root/tuber harvests nationally, compensating for the decline in cultivated areas for the season. However, it is anticipated that the bean harvest will still be below average, as beans are moisture sensitive. Crops that are more tolerant to abundant rainfall, such as tubers, cereals, and bananas, are expected to perform well

    • According to the information provided by WFP, around 56,000 refugees and asylum seekers have received half of their food ration due to funding shortages. They are likely to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through September. Refugees and asylum seekers depend on assistance from WFP and other partners as they have limited income-generating or employment opportunities. The combination of reduced ration size and above-average food prices is expected to further worsen the food insecurity situation for these households and limit their ability to meet their daily food needs. To address this situation, the government has granted access to labor employment outside the refugee camps to provide refugees and asylum seekers with an opportunity to increase their income and improve their access to food. However, available employment prospects are limited due to low demand for labor, restricting their ability to secure employment and earn an income.

    Recommended Citation: FEWS NET. Burundi Key Message update, May 2023. Below-average Season A harvest and high food prices affect 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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