Skip to main content

Season B harvest improving food security despite trade disruptions

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burundi
  • August 2016
Season B harvest improving food security despite trade disruptions

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook Through January 2017
  • Key Messages
    • Preliminary results of the Season B crop assessment suggest that production was above average nationally. However, production was below average in some areas of the Eastern Arid Plateaus and Congo-Nile Ridge livelihood zones. The Tanzanian Government is not currently issuing export licenses, reducing imports from Tanzania, but the harvest in Burundi is replenishing market stocks to normal levels. 

    • Most areas face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity. However, poor households in Bujumbura Rural and Kayanza Provinces remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) as below-average production and lower than normal job opportunities in these areas are reducing food access. 

    • On average, staple food prices decreased slightly over the past three months, but remained 20 percent higher in July than the same time last year. The weakening of the Burundian Franc (BIF) against regional and international currencies is increasing the cost of imports. Local food prices will likely increase around December when food stocks from the harvest are depleted and households are more dependent on imported commodities. 

    • Despite the current peace negotiations between the Government and the opposition, conflict is ongoing and the number of people seeking asylum in neighboring countries is increasing. In April and May, 3,500 people a month fled Burundi, whereas 6,000 people a month left in July and August. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that the total number of Burundian refugees stood at 285,491 at the end of August.  

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    Eastern lowlands, Eastern Arid Plateaus and parts of the Humid Plateaus

    • Season B crop production was below average in Kirundo, Kayanza, Muyinga, and Bujumbura Rural Provinces due to an early end of rainfall in these areas. Of particular concern is Kayanza Province where poor households depend on both own production and labor opportunities in northwestern Burundi. Below-average production and job opportunities are both reducing food access for these households.  
    • The Government of Tanzania has temporarily suspended issuing export licenses, pending review of production and availability by the Government. As a result, the supply of maize, beans, rice, and cassava is lower than normal and prices are higher than would be expected without the restrictions.
    • Poor households in areas that had below-average production are likely to experience a longer and harder September to December lean season.  Given the likelihood of below-average October to December rainfall, driven by the forecast La Niña, the January 2017 harvest is also likely to be below average and only minimally improve food security.
    • The decrease in maize, beans, rice, and cassava imports from Tanzania will lower the availability of these goods on markets across Burundi and contribute to price increases. Poor households in the Eastern Lowlands and Arid Plateaus livelihood zones will be relatively more affected, as they depend more heavily on Tanzanian imports.

    Congo Nile Ridge livelihood zone

    • Political violence and conflict, most prevalent in Bujumbura, has reduced job opportunities for day laborers, lowering income-earning opportunities.
    • The recent restrictions on exports to Rwanda has reduced the incentive of farmers to produce fruits and vegetables, typically imported by Rwanda. This was a lucrative market in this livelihood zone and the ban is likely to lower the incomes of many fruit and vegetable farmers.  
    • Both conflict within Burundi and tense relations with Rwanda are likely to continue in the coming months. As a result, movement to and from Bujumbura and to Rwanda will likely remain restricted, lowering the ability of labor-dependent households to migrate in search of work. This will reduce household income and purchasing capacity.
    • The recent ban of exports to Rwanda will likely lower the number of farmers engaged in fruit and vegetable production.

    National

    • The Central Bank has occasionally tightened its control over foreign exchange, effectively rationing foreign currency. This has lowered the capacity to import, driving higher prices for food and fuel imports.  
    • Given the poor macroeconomic environment, job opportunities in Bujumbura will likely remain below average. With below-average income-earning opportunities, the purchasing capacity of labor-depended households will remain lower than normal.

    Projected Outlook Through January 2017

    Based on the preliminary findings of a joint FAO/WFP/Government assessment, Season B production was above average nationally, although 5 to 20 percent below average in Kirundo, Kayanza, Muyinga, and Bujumbura Rural Provinces. Kayanza is of highest concern, given that it is a structurally deficit area and poor households depend on both own production and labor opportunities in Imbo Plains and Congo Nile Ridge livelihood zones, which are currently difficult to access due to conflict. Some poor households in Kayanza are facing increasing difficulty meeting their basic food needs and are likely to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), especially during the September to December lean season. Also of high concern is Bujumbura Rural Province, where poor households are experiencing both below-average production and lower than usual job opportunities due to ongoing conflict in the area. Furthermore, the province lost a profitable market for fruits and vegetables following a ban by the Government of Burundi on exports to Rwanda. Food security is expected to improve in January with the harvest, although improvements are expected to be less than normal given the forecast La Niña that will likely drive below-average October to December rainfall, resulting in below-average production.

    The disruption of trade with Tanzania is leading to below-average market supplies in provinces along the eastern and southern border, which depend more heavily on food imports from Tanzania, and driving higher than normal prices. The price of maize in Gitega increased from 600 BIF/kg in June to 800 BIF/kg in August, a significant increase at a time when prices are typically stable. Furthermore, many households in these areas have lower than normal income-earning opportunities as increased Government control of population movement along the border is reducing the ability to seek labor opportunities in Tanzania. Some households in this area are having difficulty meeting their basic food and non-food needs and are expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through January.

    Despite ongoing negotiations between the Government and the opposition, conflict and violence in Burundi is ongoing. As a result, the number of Burundians seeking asylum in neighboring countries is increasing. In April and May, 3,500 people a month fled Burundi, whereas 6,000 people a month left in July and August. According to UNHCR, the number of refugees from Burundi reached 285,491 by the end of August.

    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.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top