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Below-average Season A harvests likely in northern and eastern lowlands

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burundi
  • December 2016
Below-average Season A harvests likely in northern and eastern lowlands

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  • Key Messages
  • PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH MAY 2017
  • Key Messages
    • Rainfall has largely been adequate to support average crop development, except in parts of Kirundo, Muyinga, Rutana, Ruyigi, and Cankuzo provinces, where many crops were planted late due to erratic early season rainfall and are underdeveloped. January and February rainfall is unlikely to be sufficient to support further crop growth, likely causing late and below-average Season A harvests in these areas. Of greatest concern are Rutana, Ruyigi, and Cankuzo of Eastern lowlands livelihood zone, where Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected by late April/early May. 

    • Staple food prices continue to atypically rise and remain above the five-year average. This is due primarily to the depreciation of the Burundian Franc, lower than normal imports from Tanzania in the past few months, and below-average production in some surplus-producing areas. In Kirundo, the price of beans increased 25 percent between October and November, a period when prices normally decrease. 

    • According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as of December 29, over 327,700 Burundians have sought refuge in neighboring countries. However, the rate of outflow in December is lower than in recent months. Given conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the number of refugees in Burundi from the DRC has increased. The Burundi Red Cross reported that 796 Congolese fled to Burundi between December 5 and 13. 

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    ·    Staple food prices continue to atypically rise. In Kirundo, the price of beans increased 25 percent between November and December, reaching 1,400 BIF/kg. This is significantly higher than the five-year average, which was 855 BIF/kg in November, the month of highest prices. Typically, the price of beans decreases two to three percent between November and December. The prices of other staples also remain above the five-year average.

    ·    In most regions, rainfall has been adequate to support average crop production. However, given late planting in some areas, the harvest is expected to be slightly late. Despite the average March to June rainfall forecast, late harvests could lead to late Season B planting in several areas of Burundi.

     

    Communes in eastern and northern  lowlands

    ·    In Bugabira and Busoni communes of Kirundo, Gasorwe of Muyinga, Giharo of Rutana, Kinyinya and Gisuru of Ruyigi, and Cendajuru Commune of Cankuzo Province, many crops were planted late, even more so than in other areas of the country. Crops in these areas are underdeveloped.

    ·    Rainfall is unlikely to be sufficient in January and February, typically drier months, to support good crop maturation. Season A harvests are likely to be below average. As a result, some poor households will deplete stocks earlier than normal and may resort to distressed coping strategies, such as an increased sale of young animals and increased migration in search of labor opportunities.


    PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH MAY 2017

    The December/January Season A harvest is the most important season of the year, typically accounting for about 40 percent of annual crop production. Due to late and erratic rainfall at the start of the season, planting took place several weeks later than normal in Rutana, Ruyigi, Cankuzo, Kirundo, and Muyinga provinces. These provinces account for over a third of national agricultural production, and below-average production in these areas will result in lower than normal food availability from January to May. In these areas, poor households’ food stocks are expected to deplete earlier than normal, and many will also have lower than normal agricultural income due to the poor cropping season. Given the forecast for average rainfall from March to June, it is likely that agricultural labor opportunities for Season B will be near normal in early 2017, generally increasing household income. Furthermore, given the relaxation of previous controls over migration movement to Tanzania, poor households in eastern provinces are expected to be able to migrate as usual to earn income. However, as a result of expected continued higher than normal food prices, many poor households are likely to face increased difficulty purchasing sufficient food from markets. In order to cover their growing food gaps, poor households are expected to begin reducing the size and quantity of their meals and selling additional animals, beginning in late April/early May. Of greatest concern are the Eastern lowlands livelihood zones of Rutana, Ruyigi, and Cankuzo provinces, where Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected by late April/early May.

    Key informants report that conflict and violence have reduced in recent weeks, including in Bujumbura. As a result, the number of refugees from Burundi has been lower in December than in preceding months. However, as no resolution has been reached between the Government of Burundi and the opposition, the generally tense political climate is likely to continue discouraging businesses from operating in the country.

    Given conflict in eastern DRC, the Burundi Red Cross reported that 796 Congolese fled to Burundi between December 5 and 13. The number of refugees in Burundi from the DRC, now estimated at 24,500, may increase during the outlook period, amidst serious funding shortfalls for the humanitarian response agencies. For example, due to a lack of funding, WFP has just suspended food-for-training assistance to Congolese refugees and Burundian migrants expelled from Tanzania and Rwanda. 

    Figures SEASONAL CALENDAR IN A TYPICAL YEAR

    Figure 1

    SEASONAL CALENDAR IN A TYPICAL YEAR

    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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