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Rainfall slightly below average at the start of season in September

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burundi
  • October 2016
Rainfall slightly below average at the start of season in September

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The start of September to December Season A rainfall has been slightly below average and erratic, causing moisture stress to young crops. However, the rainy season is still forecast to be average, which is likely to result in average December-January crop production. 

    • Ongoing civil insecurity, which has caused displacement and disrupted livelihood activities, remains the main driver of food insecurity. The provinces of greatest concern are Bujumbura Rural, where conflict is reducing job opportunities, and Muyinga, Cankuzo, and Rutana, where control measures are limiting the ability of households to migrate to Tanzania for work. These areas are likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) throughout the outlook period, and some households are expected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    • The number of Burundian refugees in neighboring countries continues to rise, reaching 311,956 by October 27. In September alone, nearly 16,000 Burundians fled the country. The majority have sought refuge in Tanzania. 




    Bujumbura Rural

    • Ongoing conflict and violence continue to disrupt normal economic activities, most notably in Bujumbura (Figure 1). Fewer than usual job opportunities are available in the capital, reducing household income among labor-dependent households who typically migrate to Bujumbura for work. With low income, households face difficulty purchasing sufficient food during the lean season.
    • There has been no significant movement towards restoring peace and stability; conflict is likely to continue. This will continue to limit economic activity. Some labor-dependent households are expected to continue commuting to the capital for work, despite insecurity, as there are few opportunities in other surrounding areas.  Household income is expected to remain below average.

    Eastern Arid Plateaus and Eastern Lowlands livelihood zones

    • Season B crop production was below average in Eastern Arid and Eastern Lowlands livelihood zones. Household food stocks are lower than normal.
    • Restrictions to population movement to Tanzania are reducing income-earning opportunities for migrant workers in the Eastern Arid and Eastern lowland livelihood zones.
    • Given the forecast for average September to December rainfall, the December to January Season A harvest is likely to be average, despite early season crop stress. Poor households are expected to have near normal household stock levels from January to May.
    • Restrictions are expected to continue, limiting the ability to migrate to Tanzania for work. Household income for individuals who typically do so will be below average.


    The start of September to December Season A rainfall was slightly below-average and erratic in September and October. In September, when most areas typically receive around 90 mm, rainfall was approximately 10 mm below normal (Figure 2). Despite this, the rainy season is forecast to be average. With forecast favorable rainfall, and the expectation that area cultivated will be normal as displacement has not significant reduced area cultivated, December to January production is still likely to be average.

    Most poor household still have some household stocks from Season B production and have started harvesting September to November Season C production in marshlands, which represents 15 to 25 percent of annual production. This production is helping moderate food consumption gaps during the ongoing lean period. 

    Staple food prices are only slightly above last year and the five-year average, including in provinces of concern (Figure 3). Although prices increased in recent months, this is typical during the September to December lean period. The recent resumption of food imports from Tanzania should support further price decreases in eastern provinces. Despite average prices, many labor-dependent households have low purchasing capacity due to below-average incomes. 

    The provinces of greatest concern are Bujumbura Rural where few business are choosing to operate in the current climate and daily workers are losing formal and informal job opportunities. Similarly, many households in the Eastern border provinces of Muyinga, Cankuzo, and Rutana have lost the opportunity to travel to Tanzania for work as a result of restrictions to movement implemented early this year.

    A mass screening of 437,647 children aged 6-59 months conducted by UNICEF and World Vision in August 2016 reported a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) by Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) between 2.2 and 7.4 percent. The highest prevalence of 7.4 percent was in Rutana. Since the time of this survey, malnutrition likely further deteriorated as stocks are drawn down during the ongoing lean season. The arrival of Season A harvest is expected to increase household food access. However, in the areas of concern listed above, the livelihoods of many poor households have been severely disrupted. In these areas, poor households rely heavily on casual labor to earn income for food purchases. Conflict and migration restrictions are expected to continue, impacting their income-earning opportunities throughout the outlook period. These areas are therefore likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2), although some households are expected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in November as their food reserves are at their lowest.  

    The number of Burundian refugees in neighboring countries, the majority of which are in Tanzania, continued to rise, reaching 311,956 by October 27. In September alone, nearly 16,000 Burundians fled the country. The number of internally displaced people remains at an estimated 100,000.


    Figure 1

    Conflict density in Burundi, January 1, 2016-October 26, 2016

    Source: FEWS NET mapping from ACLED data

    Figure 2

    September rainfall anomaly in mm from 2000-2015 average using CHIRPS data

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Nominal retail prices of beans in Muyinga (in BIF/kg)

    Figure 3

    Nominal retail prices of beans in Muyinga (in BIF/kg)

    Source: MINAGRI

    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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