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Food availability and access improve as harvesting continues

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burundi
  • January 2013
Food availability and access improve as harvesting continues

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • In most parts of the country, households will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity conditions through June 2013. However, returnees living in rural integrated villages, refugees living in camps, and poor households living in warm lowlands and hauts plateaux humides areas will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) at times during the next six months.   

    • Season 'A' harvests are ongoing and are replenishing household food stocks. In the northwest and marshland areas of the southeast, heavy rains in October and an early end to the rainy season in December caused crop damage. In addition, crop diseases have been unusually prevalent this year, especially in the southeast. While official production figures have not yet been released, the combined effects of these three cropping hazards are expected to cause below-average season 'A' production at the national-level. 

    • As of December, the season 'A' harvests had not yet cause prices to decline. Compared to the previous month, December prices for both maize and beans were generally stable or increasing. Prices were also about 18 to 146 percent higher than the five-year average.






    • Heavy rains in October and an early cessation of the rains in some areas caused crop damage in marshland southeastern areas and in the northwest.
    • The prevalence of banana Xanthomonas wilt, cassava mosaic, and cassava brown streak has been above average across the country.
    • Food prices are generally similar to or higher than last year's prices. Compared to the five year average, prices this year are 18 to 146 percent higher.
    • 33,819 returnees reentered Burundi when the Mtabila camp in Tanzania closed in December.
    • A normal dry period is forecasted for January through March.
    • These diseases will continue to damage crops, especially in southeastern areas.
    • Food prices are expected to remain above the five-year average.
    • No additional returnees are expected in the near future.

    Projected Outlook through June 2013

    Season 'A' harvests of most crops, including beans, green maize, and Irish and sweet potatoes, are ongoing and are replenishing household and market food stocks. The main crop that has not yet been harvested is maize, which has a longer growth period and will be harvested in February as usual. In the southeast marshlands and the northwest, above-average rainfall from October to December caused localized flooding, soil erosion, and waterlogging. These wet conditions negatively impacted crop development, particularly for beans which require drier soil conditions compared to maize. As a result, slightly to moderately below average crop production levels are expected in these areas. In addition, banana Xanthomonas wilt, cassava mosaic, and cassava brown streak are unusually prevalent this year, and have resulted in slightly below-average production of these crops. In some parts of the northwest, especially Cibitoke, an early end to the rainy season also caused crop failure to about 60 percent of the 8,000 ha cropped with maize, beans, sorghum and peanuts.

    December prices for maize and beans, two important food staples consumed by poor households, were generally either stable or increasing compared to November. The highest monthly price increases were seen at the Muyinga market (15 percent) and the Buyigi market (21 percent) for beans and maize, respectively. Compared to last year at this time, bean prices were up 17 to 50 percent and maize prices were up 3 to 54 percent. As the harvests are completed, food prices will temporarily decline in January and February. They will then start to increase from March to June when households become more dependent on market purchases. Markets in the capital city, Bujumbura, may not see a decline in prices in February due to a fire at the city's largest market on January 27 which destroyed large quantities of trader food stocks.  

    Wages from casual labor, the most important economic activity for the poor, will remain at normal levels throughout the next six months. This, coupled with increased food prices during the lean season, will mean that household purchasing power will  decline. While most households are currently consuming their own production from the ongoing harvest, this declining purchasing power will reduce market food access starting in March when household food stocks start to deplete. However in most areas of the country, households will be able to use their normal livelihood strategies to meet essential food and non-food needs.

    Except for several areas of concern (warm lowlands, the hauts plateaux humides zones, rural integrated villages, and refugee camps), households will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity conditions through June 2013.

    Warm lowlands, the hauts plateaux humides zones, returnees in rural integrated villages, and refugee camps

    During November and December, approximately 33,819 returnees from the Mtabila refugee camp in Tanzania returned to Burundi. Until these returnees, as well as refugees from other countries living within Burundi, are able to rebuild their livelihoods, they will likely face difficulties meeting their basic food needs and will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    The hauts plateaux humides zones were greatly impacted by below-average production during the season 'B' harvests in June and July. As a result, household food stocks from that harvest depleted earlier than normal. Since season 'A' harvests in these areas have not yet begun, households are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2). These zones, as well as warm lowlands, will also be greatly affected by the below-average season 'A' harvests. Between February and late March, households in these zones are expected to be food secure (IPC Phase 1). However, after households deplete their food stocks earlier than normal in late March, at least 20 percent of households will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2). 

    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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