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Most areas in Burundi are expected to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food security outcomes through May, supported by sufficient food stocks from seasonal harvests and income earned from on- and off-farm sources. However, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in the Eastern and Northern Lowlands and Eastern Arid Plateaus livelihood zones, driven by reduced income from household bean crop sales, high staple food prices, and reduced income from agricultural labor and cross-border petty trade. Border-crossing fees related to COVID-19 testing continue to impede this trade-related income for poor and very poor households.
Season A crop cultivation has been disrupted due to delayed and below-average rainfall at the start of the season in the east and south. Dry conditions wiped out the first plantings of September, especially in the Eastern Arid Plateaus, Eastern Lowlands, and Buragane livelihood zones. While middle and better-off households were able to replant maize and beans and take advantage of improved rainfall in November, poor and very poor households lack sufficient financial access to agricultural inputs for replanting. Instead, many are planting root crops such as Irish potatoes, cassava, radishes, and carrots in place of maize and beans, which will result in a reduction of dietary diversity and lower income from crop sales.
Staple food prices in monitored markets are expected to remain atypically high. In October, on average, bean prices were around 50 percent higher than last year and nearly 60 percent higher than the five-year average, while maize prices were over 60 percent higher than last year and over 90 percent above the five-year average. Food price hikes are highest in the cities, Imbo Plains livelihood zone, and the Bujumbura peri-urban area. While the availability of own-produced food is mitigating the impact of high food prices for most rural households, access to food will reach an annual low between November and January. The delayed start of season A crop cultivation, along with the associated decline in agricultural labor income, is expected to atypically extend the lean season by several weeks into January.
WFP continues to provide food and nutrition assistance, reaching around 55,000 refugees and asylum seekers with 311 MT of in-kind food and USD 550,000 in cash-based transfers in October. Food assistance, coupled with other food and income sources, is likely resulting in Minimal! (IPC Phase 1!) outcomes among this population. In addition, over 3,600 new Burundian returnees received a one-time return relief package consisting of three months of in-kind food or cash-based transfers. However, it is estimated that over 13,000 returnees that have arrived since April 2022, at the start of Season B, have likely already depleted their one-time assistance package in advance of the next Season A harvest in January. This group will likely be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the harvest, which will serve as their main source of food and income.
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.