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Below-average Season B harvests likely to affect food availability for poor households

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burundi
  • June 2014
Below-average Season B harvests likely to affect food availability for poor households

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through November 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Poor rainfall distribution and dry spells in most zones across the country have resulted in below-average Season B harvests. Production deficits are expected to be highest in the Northeast.
    • Preliminary results from field assessments indicate crisis coping strategies in Kirundo, where production deficits were among the worst in the country. These include atypical migration, sale of productive assets, begging and theft.
    • Poor households in northeastern livelihood zones are expected to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity from July to November.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    Countrywide

    Rainfall deficits started in the last week of April and have lasted through May.    

    Earlier than normal dryness will have an adverse impact on season C marshland cultivation that normally happens in June-July as well as on pasture and livestock conditions.

     


    Projected Outlook through November 2014

    Although near-normal rains were forecasted for March to May, poor distribution and rainfall deficits were observed in most parts of the country, especially in Kirundo, Cankuzo, Gitega, Muyinga, and Rutana. For example, Figure 1 shows rainfall deficits in Kirundo in the first two dekads of March, at initial growth stages and it continued to be erratic through May. In May, during crop maturity growth stages, rainfall was less than 50 percent of normal. These rainfall anomalies have resulted in significant production deficits for maize, beans and sorghum. According to preliminary results from field assessment reports, maize deficits could be up to 80 percent in some areas and deficits for beans and sorghum are estimated to be between 30 and 50 percent. More details on crop yields will be available in upcoming reports.  Household food availability is currently constrained by poor production in most zones.

    Production shortfalls are also expected to increase staple food prices in markets.   Typically, June marks the end of minor lean season with harvesting for Season B and the start of Season C planting. However, field assessment reports indicate atypical migration from Kirundo Province to Bugesera District in Rwanda. Other crisis coping strategies were reported such as sale of productive assets, theft, and begging.

    Normally, prices in June show a downward trend following increased market supply from season B harvests. Household market dependence typically decreases as households depend more on own production for food. However, given recent poor seasonal performance that resulted in below-average Season B production, prices may stabilize in the short-term but are likely to rise again earlier than normal.

    Given atypical market dependence this time of year, higher staple food prices will reduce the purchasing power of poor households in most zones. Because poor households have very limited assets and few labor opportunities, they are particularly vulnerable to price variability and have a lower capacity to respond to shocks than better-off households. Increased market dependence and above-average stable food prices are expected to worsen food security for poor households, especially in the northeastern livelihood zones through November, who have limited purchasing power. Although Season C harvests are available in September, yields are not expected to fill current and projected food gaps as Season C production only accounts for 10 percent of annual production. Poor households in northeastern livelihood zones where production deficits are the highest currently face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity which is expected to last through November. 

    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar of typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. March to May 2014 dekadal rainfall in Kirundo

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. March to May 2014 dekadal rainfall in Kirundo

    Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

    Figure 2. March to May 2014 dekadal rainfall in Cankuzo

    Figure 3

    Figure 2. March to May 2014 dekadal rainfall in Cankuzo

    Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

    Figure 4

    Source:

    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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