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Harvesting nears end, food prices remain above average

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burundi
  • February 2014
Harvesting nears end, food prices remain above average

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Season A harvesting is nearly over and production is estimated to be near average. With the replenishment of household food stocks and market supplies, most households will have Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through June.
    • However, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity is expected from March to June in the Plateaux Humides zone (Ngozi, Kayanza, Muramvya, Mwaro, and Gitega districts), as well as Bugendana and Bweru districts, due to localized Season A production deficits. Households in these areas are expected to rely on market purchases earlier than normal, while prices of some key commodities will be above average.
    • Prices of the main staple commodities, especially sweet potato, remain higher than the five-year average, due to poor Season 2013 C performance. In Ngozi and Kirundo markets, for example, sweet potato prices in January were more than double the five-year average and their respective January 2013 levels. Higher prices will impact purchasing power, particularly for poor households.
    • Recent torrential rainfall in Bujumbura caused significant damage to roads and bridges, destroyed 3,700 houses, caused dozens of deaths, and displaced an estimated 12,000 people located in camps. Displaced populations are in need of emergency food and non-food assistance.
    ZONECURRENT ANOMALIESPROJECTED ANOMALIES
    NationalSweet potato, bean, and cassava flour prices in January were higher than the five-year average.Staple commodity prices are expected to continue increasing, remaining above average, mainly during the March to May lean season.

     


    Projected Outlook through June 2014

    The nearly-completed Season A harvest has replenished household food stocks and market supplies in most zones across the country. However, heavy rainfall during the September to January “small rains” damaged crops in the Plateaux Humides zone (Ngozi, Kayanza, Muramvya, Mwaro, and Gitega), as well as Bugendana and Bweru districts. In addition, plant diseases (banana xanthomonas wilt, cassava mosaic, and cassava brown streak) are still visible across the country. These factors are likely to result in depletion of household stocks in early March (compared to April in a normal year) among households in affected areas.

    Rainfall in the first ten days of February ranged between 10 and 25 percent above normal. According to the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Climate Forecast System (CFS), March to May rainfall is expected to be near normal.

    Sweet potato prices in January were higher than the five-year average. In Ngozi and Kirundo markets, for example, sweet potato prices in January were more than double the five-year average and their respective January 2013 levels. This increase is likely due to poor Season 2013 C performance. Other staple commodity prices, such as beans and cassava flour, are declining in line with seasonal trends but remain above average. Traders are reportedly amassing food stocks in anticipation of higher prices later in the season, which will likely impact retail prices for rural consumers.

    The usual February-March labor migration to Tanzania is no longer available due to last year’s eviction of Burundians by the Tanzanian government; this has led to decreased labor opportunities. A slight decline in wages due to increased labor supply in Burundi is expected in provinces bordering Tanzania, such as Rutana, Ruyigi, Gitega, Karuzi, and Cankuzo.

    Most households in the country face Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1), though poor households in the Plateaux Humides zone are likely to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from March until June 2014, when Season B harvests will be available.

    Figures

    Figure 2

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    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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