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Well above-average staple food prices reduce market access for the poor during the lean season

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burundi
  • April 2015
Well above-average staple food prices reduce market access for the poor during the lean season

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through September 2015
  • Key Messages
    • During the month of April, nearly 21,000 people migrated across the border to Rwanda due to concerns of insecurity and violence related to upcoming elections, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Protests and associated civil unrest, which began during the last week of April, continue in Mutakura, Cibitoke, Kanyosha, Bwiza, and Musaga communes of Bujumbura.

    • Staple food prices declined in most markets in March due to increased market availability from Season A harvests. However, prices remain higher than normal country-wide, up to 50 percent above the five-year average in some areas. 

    • Average to above-average season A harvests have increased food availability and access for most households in Burundi. However, poor households in the Plateaux Humides Livelihood Zone currently face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity due to persistently above-average staple food prices during the lean season, when households are most market dependent. Increasing political instability and a likely escalation of civil insecurity are expected to disrupt access to food and income for the poor in the coming months.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    Countrywide

    • Violence related to upcoming June 2015 presidential elections have begun to cause cross-border migration.
    • Staple food prices remain above average.

     

     

    • Continued election-related violence is expected to disrupt market activity, cause additional cross-border migration, and reduce access to seasonal labor opportunities.
    • Staple food prices are expected to remain above average and rise further given expected disruptions to market activity and trade flow.

       


    Projected outlook through September 2015
    • During the last week of April, civil unrest erupted in Bujumbura after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans to see a third term in in the upcoming June 2015 presidential elections. Protests continue in Mutakura, Cibitoke, Kanyosha, Bwiza and Musaga communes of Bujumbura. During the month of April, nearly 21,000 people migrated across the border to Rwanda due to concerns of insecurity and violence related to upcoming elections, according to the UNHCR. Should election-related violence and civil insecurity continue, disruptions to trade, market activity, and seasonal livelihood activities are likely to impact access to food and income for the poor.
    • Planting for Season B is complete and early-planted crops are currently at vegetative stages. March rainfall was below-average across most of the country, but heavy rainfall in late March and the first two weeks of April restored vegetative conditions. Season B harvests are expected to begin on-time in June.
    • Heavy rainfall between late March and mid-April caused landslides in Muramvya and Bujumbura provinces, damaging farms, and displacing more than 600 households in rural areas. Areas most affected by landslides are Nyaruhongoka and Rutunga areas of Muhuta Commune, located on the edge of the Lake Tanganyika.
    • Staple food prices, except for beans, stabilized seasonably or declined in the first quarter due to increased food availability following Season A harvests. Maize prices declined by an average of 15 percent from February to March across monitored markets. Price declines were most significant in Gitega, where the price of maize decreased by 30 percent in March.  Beans prices increased in almost all markets in March, with significant increases of about 25 percent recorded in Kidurndo and Muyinga markets. 
    • However, prices continue to be much higher than the 2010-2014 average.  For example, in Kirundo, Muyinga and Ruyigi markets March prices of cassava flour and yam were about 50 percent above average.  Prices are expected to increase further in April and May as stocks from season A harvests deplete. 
    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    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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