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Season B production expected to be below average

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burundi
  • April 2016
Season B production expected to be below average

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Despite below-average rainfall in March, rainfall for the remainder of the season is forecast to be average to above-average. However, Season B production is expected to be five to ten percent below the five-year pre-crisis average due to conflict-related disruptions to cultivation.

    • Although October to December 2015 rainfall was above average, driven in part by El Niño, Season A production was below average in conflict-affected areas. Many poor households have already depleted stocks and will continue facing difficulty meeting their basic food and non-food needs, given high prices and likely below-average Season B production. 

    • Due to insecurity, the number of people seasonally migrating to areas of high agricultural labor demand has reduced. Furthermore, fewer people are seeking opportunities in the informal sector of urban areas due to security concerns. The disruption of livelihoods is reducing household income and access to food. As a result, many are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). 

    • The ongoing political crisis and conflict are also causing people to flee the country.  According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an estimated 260,085 Burundians have fled to neighboring countries in the last twelve months. As of March, the International Organization for Migration’s Displacement Tracking Matrix reported that 25,294 persons were internally displaced in Makamba, Kirundo, and Rutana Provinces. 




    Provinces most affected by violence, including Bujumbura Mairie, Bujumbura Rural, Bururi (in Mugamba commune) Citiboke, Kirundo, Makamba, Muyinga, Rutana, and Rumonge


    • Disruptions from political violence and conflict resulted in below-average Season A production. Many poor households have depleted grain stocks.
    • Continued political instability has displaced households and limited travel to regions with more labor opportunities, decreasing household income and purchasing capacity. This is notably the case for poor households from Northern Highlands, who seasonally migrate to Cibitoke Province.
    • Despite favorable rainfall, Season B production is expected to be five to ten percent below the five-year pre-crisis average due to conflict-related disruptions to cultivation.
    • If a peaceful resolution to the conflict is not realized, market and trade routes are likely to be further disrupted, and travel restricted to areas with labor opportunities. The number of internally displaced persons could also increase.


    • Activity in the informal sector of urban areas is decreasing due to insecurity, reducing job opportunities and household income.
    • Suspension of development assistance and budgetary support from donors such as Belgium, the Netherlands, and the European Union, and the shortage of foreign currency are negatively affecting the value of the Burundi Franc (BFI). As a result, the price of importing food commodities remains high, decreasing household food access.
    • If insecurity persists, it is expected that economic activity will reduce and job opportunities will further decline, decreasing household incomes further. 
    • Given the suspension of donor funding and foreign currency shortage, likely further budget constraints are expected to lead to more job losses and defunding of development programs.
    • Food commodity imports such as beans, maize, and rice have declined due to depreciation of the BFI. As a result, supplies are expected to be below average, which will further increase food prices. 


    March to May Season B rainfall is forecast to be average to above-average, which will support crop production. However, above-average rainfall also increases the risk of localized landslides and flooding, especially in the western escarpments, where deforested is ongoing and crop cultivation has extended to steep slopes. Despite favorable rainfall, it is estimated that Season B production will be about five to ten percent lower the pre-crisis five-year average, due to reduced acreage planted, displacement of persons typically employed in agricultural labor, and other conflict-related disruptions. Many poor households are already depending on market purchases to access food during the April-May lean season, given below-average production during the previous season. Of particular concern are the conflict-affected provinces of Bujumbura Rural, Citiboke, Kirundo, Makamba, Muyinga, Rutana and Rumonge.

    Staple food prices remain atypically high. In Kirundo, a kilogram of maize was 721 BIF in March, 44 percent above last year and 24 percent above the five-year average. The price of beans in Kirundo are currently 48 percent higher than last year and 41 percent above the five-year average.  The increase in prices is attributed to both production shortfalls and the high cost of food imports. Prices are expected to decrease slightly in July when household and market stocks increase from Season B production. However, if insecurity continues to deter traders from exporting to Burundi, and the BIF continues to lose value, it is expected food prices will remain atypically high.  

    The Government of Burundi and opposition forces are expected to begin negotiations in Arusha, Tanzania, starting on May 2nd. However, conflict continued in April and if negotiations do not lead to a sustainable resolution to the conflict, poor economic conditions and agricultural disruptions are expected to persist. Additionally, it is likely major donors will continue to withhold funds, leading to additional job losses and defunding of development programs as the Burundian government faces budgetary constraints.

    Displacement continues to disrupt livelihoods. UNHCR estimates that 260,085 Burundians have fled to neighboring countries in the last twelve months and the IOM estimates that 25,294 Burundians are internally displaced from the current conflict. Household food access and availability remain constrained, most notably in conflict-affected areas, due to economic disruptions, loss of income-earning opportunities, high staple food prices, below-average household stocks, and disruptions to Season B production. As a result, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity is expected to persist through September, although food security will slightly improve in June when Season B harvests become available. 


    Figure 1


    Source: FEWS NET

    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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