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Near-normal Season B harvest is expected to alleviate acute food insecurity

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burundi
  • April 2014
Near-normal Season B harvest is expected to alleviate acute food insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through September 2014
  • Key Messages
    • As the 2014 Season B progresses, beans and other crops are almost flowering. Heavy rainfall and hail has recently damaged small numbers of farms, especially in Bururi and Kayanza, though most zones are experiencing a slight rainfall deficit of about 10 percent.
    • Prices of the main staple commodities increased slightly between February and March. However, in Ngozi, a key market in the Plateaux Humides livelihood zone, sweet potato prices increased in March by 36 percent compared to last month, 49 percent compared to last year, and 45 percent compared to the five-year average, respectively.
    • From now through June, households in most livelihood zones will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity, except the Plateaux Humides zone, which is currently in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity until Season B harvests in June. For the period of July-September, the country will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity, following the 2014 Season B harvests.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    Plateaux Humides Livelihood Zone

    Staple food prices increased unseasonably in the Plateaux Humides livelihood zone as a result of below-average Season A harvests, especially for sweet potatoes.

    Staple food prices are expected to continue increasing at a faster rate than normal in Plateaux Humides until June, when Season B harvests become available.

     


    Projected outlook through September 2014

    Burundi’s main rainy season, which typically lasts from March through May, is progressing well and forecasts suggest continued good rainfall through the rest of the season. Rainfall in February-March was above average by 10 and 25 percent, though in the first dekad (10-day period) of April most parts of the country experienced slight deficits of about 10 percent. Though heavy rainfall and hail has recently damaged some crops, particularly beans, in Bururi and Kayanza provinces, the damage is limited and is not expected to significantly impact production at either the provincial or national level. Despite localized anomalies, the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and Climate Forecast System (CFS) forecasts indicate near-normal March to May rainfall. Additionally, the Institut Géographique du Burundi (IGEBU) also predicts normal rainfall, with above-normal tendencies in most parts of the country.

    Prices of the main staple commodities increased slightly between February and March. However, in Ngozi, a key market in the Plateaux Humides, sweet potato prices increased in February by 36 percent compared to last month, 49 percent above March 2013 prices, and 45 percent above the five-year average for March. In the same market, beans increased by 22, 10 and 8 percent, respectively, compared to last month, last year, and the March five-year average.  Furthermore, cassava flour prices also remain 30 percent above the five-year average in Ngozi, and 50 percent above the five-year average in Gitega market. In addition to below-average rainfall that affected Season A harvests, these price increases are possibly due to seedling deficits following poor 2013 Season C  performance, as well as scattered cassava brown streak and mosaic diseases. Despite price increases, sweet potato remains the least expensive staple food and is preferred by poor households.

    Market purchase is the main source of food when household stocks run out during the March to May minor lean season. Higher staple food prices in Plateaux Humides will reduce the purchasing power of poor households. Because poor households in this area have very limited assets and few labor opportunities, they are particularly vulnerable to price variability and have a lower capacity to respond to shocks than better-off households. Currently, households’ coping mechanisms in this livelihood zone are mainly reducing non-food related expenses such as education, health, clothing and transport; as well as reducing agriculture inputs related expenses by respectively 54 and 56 percent.

    Most households in the country face Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1), except poor households in the Plateaux Humides zone who are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until June 2014, when Season B harvests will be available. In July-September, households will face none/Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC 2.0 Phase 1) with replenished household food stocks.

    Figures seasonal calendar

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Source:

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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