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Above-average 2023 Season C harvest increases access to food in the lean season

  • Key Message Update
  • Burundi
  • November 2023
Above-average 2023 Season C harvest increases access to food in the lean season

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Most areas in western Burundi are expected to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes in November to January 2024, supported by remaining food stocks from the near-average 2023 Season B harvest, anticipated above-average 2023 Season C crop production, and relatively stable access to income sources. However, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in the Northern Lowlands livelihood zone, driven by the rapid depletion of 2023 Season B food stocks, high food prices, fuel shortages, restricted access to cross-border opportunities, and low labor wages. Meanwhile, the Eastern Lowlands and Eastern Dry Plateaus livelihood zones are likely to experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) conditions until January 2024.
    • The upcoming Season C crop production, which typically contributes approximately 15 percent of the yearly production, is expected to be above average, driven by near-average rainfall during September and October, favoring increased cultivated areas. Government and partner initiatives offering technical support, promotion of irrigation systems, and subsidies of fertilizer and high-quality maize seeds have supported the above-average production for the season. The Season C harvest is expected to fulfill food requirements for about three weeks, mitigating the effects of the lean period, specifically for poor and very poor households between October to December.
    • In September and October, existing food stocks from Season B and the anticipated above-average Season C harvest supported the stabilization of food prices. However, despite this progress, current food prices remain high, ranging from 40 to 70 percent above the five-year average and 25 to 40 percent higher compared to last year’s average prices. These price escalations can be attributed to several factors, including increased costs of imported food due to the national inflation rate nearing 30 percent in October. Moreover, there have been elevated expenses associated with agricultural inputs and increased fuel and transportation costs, collectively contributing to sustained high food prices in the region.
    • The timely onset of the short rains season by the end of September allowed a typical start of 2024 Season A. As anticipated in the October 2023 Food Security Outlook report, the above-average rainfall experienced in October and November, attributed to the prevailing El Niño conditions, resulted in favorable vegetative conditions. The current vegetative conditions are likely to promote favorable growth of various crops, including maize, rice, sorghum, cassava, and sweet potatoes, as well as banana cultivation and ample grazing pasture for animals. However, localized areas scattered across the country have been affected by erosion, landslides, and floods that have destroyed crops and infrastructure, including residential houses, public infrastructure, bridges, and roads.
    • Due to funding shortages, WFP has reported that approximately 56,000 refugees and asylum seekers received about 75 percent of their typical monthly food ration. The insufficient humanitarian assistance is likely to result in Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes among these households until January 2024. Over 15,000 returnees who arrived after the end of the Season B harvest and have not started their farming activities for Season C, have depleted their food stocks and seek additional humanitarian assistance. However, around 4,300 individuals who have recently returned to their homes have been provided with a full ration, including hot meals during their stay in transit centers. Additionally, they have received a three-month package aimed at supporting their reintegration efforts upon returning home. 

    Recommended Citation: FEWS NET. Burundi Key Message update, November 2023. Above-average 2023 Season C harvest increases access to food in the lean season, 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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