Skip to main content

Season 2019 B harvests expected to enhance food availability and access through September

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burundi
  • June 2019
Season 2019 B harvests expected to enhance food availability and access through September

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Well-distributed rainfall since mid-April has led to average to above-average harvests. Food access also remains favorable driven by increased market supply. In May, the prices of staple foods were below the three-year average and 11.6 percent lower than May 2018. Most rural households are expected to be net food sellers, which is anticipated to keep prices low and benefit market-dependent poor households. Improved food availability and access is expected to drive Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes through September.

    • Average to above-average rainfall during the October-December short rains season is expected to raise the risk of flooding and landslides. In addition, malaria incidence, which has already surpassed the national epidemic threshold, is expected to reach its peak during this timeframe. The anticipated impact on agricultural cultivation and expectation that households dependent on agricultural labor would have reduced capacity to work, at a time when food reserves are seasonally low, is expected to lead to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.

    • According to IOM, the number of IDPs, Congolese refugees living in settlements, and monthly rate of newly arrived Burundian returnees from Tanzania was estimated in May to be 115,708, 43,800, and 3,000 respectively. Given improved food availability and access countrywide, the old caseload of IDPs, now settled and engaged in agricultural livelihoods, are likely in Minimal (IPC Phase 1). It is expected that humanitarian food assistance, coupled with limited access to harvests, is likely to sustain Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes for recent IDP caseloads, Congolese refugees, and recent returnees. In the absence of assistance, recent IDPs and returnees would likely deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) when food stocks are seasonally low.

    NationalAccording to the WHO, 31 out of 46 health districts have surpassed the epidemic threshold for malaria. The number of cases exceeded the national epidemic threshold on May 5th, when 171,349 clinical malaria cases were reported in a week. 3,207,552 clinical malaria cases were reported as of May 26th with a case fatality ratio of 0.04 percent, indicating a 53 and 22 percent increase in cases and in deaths, respectively, compared to January-May 2018. Although a response plan is in the process of being validated, the WHO reports that there is a lack of resources for effective response. Based on seasonal trends, malaria incidence is likely to decline in June-September and increase in the short rains season in October-January, reaching its peak in December. The major drivers of the epidemic include low use of preventive measures, low immunity, climatic changes leading to increased vector density, reduced sensitization, and budget and logistics constraints. 
    Ngozi and Kayanza ProvincesViral Sheep and Goats Plague has killed more than 500 livestock, prompting the closure of small animal markets to prevent the spread of the disease. Based on similar outbreak that occurred last year, it is expected that markets will remain closed for three to four months. Markets are likely to re-open by September.

    Localized areas in Busoni Commune, Kirundo Province

    Out of the 30 collines in Kirundo Province that had severe crop production shortfalls in Season 2019 A, three collines in Busoni also had rainfall deficits during the beans flowering stage in May, leading to significant beans production shortfalls. However, crop development of other staple foods is near normal.Busoni has few lowlands for Season C cultivation. As a result, poor households having significant bean production deficits are not expected to have a significant harvest until December. Most poor households will be dependent on market purchases and perennial roots and tubers and are likely to expand other minor income sources. They are also likely to access safety net programs offering cash transfers to poorest and most vulnerable families.



    The amount and distribution of rainfall in the February-May rainy season was sufficient to result in average Season 2019 B bean harvests in most provinces aside from a few localized areas. In one area of concern in Busoni commune, Kirundo Province, bean production in the collines of Munazi, Kivo, and Gatare is estimated to be 40 percent below average due to the impact of rainfall deficits. Despite localized bean shortfalls, banana, cassava, and sweet potato production is above average across the country. Given favorable harvests and increased market supply, the price of staple foods, including beans, are lower than last year. According to the National Statistical Institute ISTEEBU, the prices of food and non-alcohol drinks in May were 11.6 percent lower than May 2018, though prices slightly increased from April to May 2019 by 1.4 percent. This helped the annual inflation drop by 3.9 percent in May, the highest monthly drop since the beginning of the year. As a result, household food availability is generally adequate for both own consumption and some crop sales, while food access is favorable for very poor households who are more market dependent. This is expected to drive Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes for most households through September.

    In June, viral Sheep and Goats Plague reappeared in Ngozi province, killing a total of 542 goats in 3 communes (Tangara: 476, Busiga: 62, and Ruhororo: 4) and leading to the closure of small animal markets in Ngozi province and in neighboring Kayanza province. In these areas, located within the Dépressions de l’Est livelihood zone, sales of goats and chickens are secondary to agricultural labor as a source of income for poor households. Based on the precedent set by market closures last year in localized areas of central and northeastern Burundi, it is expected that these measures would limit the spread of disease and markets will reopen in three-four months. As food reserves are still high and prices are expected to be seasonally low through September, it is expected that poor households would only resort to sales of small animals as a coping strategy in October when the sheep and goats plague will probably be under control and markets open.

    Looking forward, Season 2019 C (July-November; 15 percent of annual production) is also likely to result in average to above average crop production, since sustained rainfall through early June has created favorable moisture conditions for that season. The preliminary forecast for average to above-average rainfall in the October 2019-January 2020 period also bodes well for national Season 2020 A production (September 2019-January 2020; estimated 35 percent of annual production), but increased rainfall would also likely increase the risk of flooding and landslides. However, the current malaria epidemic is expected to worsen during the October-December short rains season, based on seasonal trends. Because malaria incidence is typically highest among poor households, reduces their ability to work, and increases medical expenses, and because current malaria incidence has already reached epidemic levels, it is expected that the seasonal resurgence in malaria will contribute to the deterioration of food security outcomes. Given the likelihood of climatic and disease shocks, and that food stocks will have seasonally declined, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected.

    At present, improved food availability and access is expected to support Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes for old caseload IDPs. Among newly arrived voluntary returnees, newly displaced IDPs (which IOM estimates compose 6 percent of the total IDP population), and Congolese refugees who have limited ability to engage in agricultural production, humanitarian food assistance is expected to sustain Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes. In the absence of assistance, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) would be likely when food stocks are seasonally low. There is concern that ongoing intercommunity violence in southern Kivu Province of the DRC could lead to an increase in the refugee population within Burundi, which would increase the population in need. Should in-migration increase, or if civil insecurity and widespread displacement occur within Burundi, food security outcomes would deteriorate for a large number of IDPs and refugees, likely leading them into Crisis (IPC Phase 3).


    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.

    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