Skip to main content

Above-average rainfall likely to sustain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes through May 2020

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burundi
  • October 2019
Above-average rainfall likely to sustain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes through May 2020

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Food reserves from an above-average Season 2019 B harvest, above-average season 2019 C production, and ongoing production of bananas, roots, and tubers are supporting food availability. Above-average rainfall forecasted for September to December is likely to support another favorable harvest in December-January. This is expected to boost household stocks and support low food prices, sustaining Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes through May 2020. However, localized areas affected by flooding and landslides will likely experience worse outcomes.

    • According to ISTEEBU, the prices of staple foods have remained atypically stable between June and October. This is likely the result of several consecutive seasons of average to above-average harvests. Given favorable production prospects for the Season 2020 A season, prices are expected to increase only slightly through the peak of the lean season in November and will likely remain below three-year average levels through May 2020.

    • High malaria incidence across the country remains a concern. Information on the extent to which malaria has affected livelihoods is limited, but it is likely that some households are being impacted by the inability of income-earners to work alongside increased nutritional needs and health costs. While there is insufficient evidence to indicate that this is driving Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes, significant health and nutrition interventions are needed.

    • According to UNHCR, 900 Burundian refugees returned from Tanzania in the first two weeks of October. That number is about one fifth of the biweekly target implied by the August 2019 agreement between the Governments of Burundi and Tanzania to repatriate all refugees within one year.  WFP continues to provide significant levels of humanitarian food assistance to newly arrived returnees and Congolese refugees, which is sustaining Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in these communities.





    According to WHO, averages of around 150,000 new cases of malaria and 80 deaths occurred on a weekly basis during the August 19 – October 20 period. Incidence has increased slightly in recent weeks. The malaria outbreak has affected areas throughout the country.

    Seasonal increases in malaria incidence are typically expected between September and May. Increased malaria control efforts including insecticides spraying, mosquito net distribution, and communication campaigns are expected to assist in controlling the epidemic if successfully implemented.


    The Governments of Burundi and Tanzania agreed in August to repatriate the remaining 184,000 Burundian refugees in Tanzania within one year. About 900 returned in the first two weeks of October – an increase in the rate of return observed in recent months, but still only about one fifth of the rate implied by this agreement.

    In the absence of additional information, FEWS NET assumes that Burundian refugees will continue returning from Tanzania at recently observed increased rates. Additional resources will be needed in order to provide 3-month assistance kits to all new returnees.


    Early planting of the Season 2019 A crop in most high-altitude areas is likely to be completed by mid-October. In the northwestern and northeastern low- and mid-altitude areas of Kirundo and Cibitoke, planting was delayed until early October due to poor rainfall but is likely to be completed in time for normal seasonal progression. Crops are now developing well across the country due to significantly above-average rainfall (Figure 1) with another favorable harvest anticipated in December and January. As a result, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected in most areas through January 2020. However, flooding in plains and valleys and landslides in high-altitude areas are likely to lead to localized crop losses, loss of livelihoods, and displacement. Affected households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or worse outcomes.

    According to the NOAA preliminary rainfall forecast, average rainfall is expected for Burundi between February and May 2020. This is likely to lead to average harvests in Season 2020 B (March-June). Continued favorable crop production is expected to sustain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes through at least May 2020. Due to disruptions expected around the May 2020 presidential elections, some increased number of people will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2 outcomes).

    Food prices seasonally increased in September (Figure 2) due to an elevated demand for seeds during planting, but that increase was smaller than usual (ISTEEBU). Food prices have generally remained atypically stable in recent months, attributed to above-average supply from Season 2019 B stocks and the ongoing Season C harvest. Given favorable production prospects for the Season 2020 A season, prices are expected to increase only slightly through the peak of the lean season in November and will likely remain below three-year average levels through May 2020. This is expected to support food access for poor households.

    According to WHO, 1,500,856 new malaria cases and 836 deaths were reported across Burundi between August 11 and October 20. Incidence has been gradually increasing during this time, with 136,047 new cases reported in the week ending October 20 (week 42). This incidence rate is 65 percent higher than that from same period of 2018. Malaria is likely preventing many affected people from working and accessing income for prolonged periods of time. Furthermore, some poor households will likely need to choose between food and health costs. However, evidence of impacts on livelihoods and food consumption is lacking. While some households are likely to be facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or worse outcomes, international and government control efforts are likely to control the outbreak through at least May 2020.

    An estimated 103,000 people were displaced in Burundi as of September 2019 (IOM), mainly due to natural disasters. Meanwhile, the number of Congolese refugees in Burundi was estimated to be around 49,000 as of September. In August, the governments of Burundi and Tanzania agreed to repatriate all remaining 180,000 Burundian refugees within one year starting on October 1st. In the first two weeks of October, 900 Burundian refugees returned. This was an increase upon rates of return over the past two months. It is expected that humanitarian food assistance, coupled with limited access to harvests, is likely to sustain Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes for IDPs, Congolese refugees, and recent returnees. If the rate of returning refugees continues to increase, increased levels of humanitarian assistance will be needed to support these populations.

    Figures Map of Burundi showing rainfall accumulation (percent of normal) in October. Areas in northeastern Burundi received over 200%

    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Source: NOAA/USGS

    Bean prices decreased between April and late June, then remained fairly steady with some small increases. Maize prices have r

    Figure 2

    Figure 2

    Source: ISTEEBU

    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