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Minimal food insecurity in most areas as cropping season ‘B’ continues

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Rwanda
  • March 2013
Minimal food insecurity in most areas as cropping season ‘B’ continues

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Partner
    NUR
    Key Messages
    • Household food stocks in most areas of the country have returned to near normal levels following the season 'A' harvests (December to February). This has enabled poor households to meet their food consumption needs through their own crop production and in most areas of the country, Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity will be observed through June 2013.  

    • In the Eastern and Western Congo-Nile areas, the recent season 'A' harvests were below average. In addition, atypically high levels of labor supply have caused casual labor wages and incomes to fall to below-normal levels, reducing household food access through market purchases. Households in these areas will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity from April to June 2013. 

    • Due to dry weather conditions, households in the Eastern Semi-Arid Agro-Pastoral zone also suffered significant crop losses during the last season. This, coupled with poor livestock incomes due to a recent quarantine, will cause households in this zone to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) between now and the green harvests in June. 


    Current Situation
    • Cropping season 'B': With the start of the season 'B' rains, the agricultural season has begun on-time across much of the country with planting activities near completion. In parts of the Eastern Semi-Arid Agro-Pastoral zone and southern areas of the Eastern Congo-Nile mixed substance farming zone, erratic rainfall delayed planting activities by about two weeks, meaning that some farmers will continue planting until the end of March.
    • Rainfall forecast: The Rwanda Meteorology Agency's recent March to May forecast is predicting normal to above normal rainfall over the western regions of the country and normal to below-normal over the eastern and central regions. However as it is still early in the agricultural season, a normal season 'B' harvest in June is still anticipated across the country.
    • Household food stocks for most of the country: In most areas, households experienced normal season 'A' harvests from December to February, which replenished food stocks to normal levels. These stocks are also being supplemented by normal levels of market purchases for certain foods, such as Irish potatoes and rice.
    • Household food stocks in the Eastern Semi-Arid Agro-Pastoral zone: A FEWS NET field assessment in February revealed that in the Eastern Semi-Arid Agro-Pastoral zone, which covers three quarters of Kayonza and Kirehe districts, season 'A' harvests were down approximately 30 to 60 percent compared to normal due to dry weather conditions during the growing season. As a result, household food stocks in these areas depleted in early March, one month earlier than normal.
    • Household food stocks in the Eastern and Western Congo-Nile areas: In the Eastern and Western Congo-Nile areas, heavy rains, erosion, and crop diseases also caused below-average harvests. As a result, household food stocks in this zone depleted two to three weeks earlier than normal (in early March compared to the end of March in a normal year).
    • Income sources: Recent season 'B' planting activities (February to early March) provided normal levels of agricultural labor income for poor households. However in the Eastern and Western Congo-Nile areas, the effects of last season's below-average harvests have caused more people to seek labor work in comparison to a normal year. In addition, approximately 14,000 refugees settled in the Eastern Congo-Nile zone last year, further adding to the labor supply. As a result, current agricultural labor wages have fallen to below-normal levels in this zone. 
    • Livestock conditions: The eastern livelihood zones are major livestock production areas that supply animals to the rest of the country. In January, about 800 cows in these zones were identified with foot and mouth disease and in order to prevent further transmission of this disease, the region was subject to an official quarantine from January until mid-March. This significantly reduced livestock incomes for agropastoral households. However as the quarantine was lifted in mid-March, livestock incomes are expect to return to near normal levels for the rest of the outlook period.
    • Staple food prices: Markets are supplied with normal levels of staple foods and prices are generally following typical seasonal trends. With the start of the minor lean season in April, prices will gradually begin to increase until the next harvests in June. Food prices are, and will likely remain, above last year's levels for most commodities and markets.  For example, prices for beans and maize are four and 24 percent above last year's levels at the Kabaya market, and 23 and five percent above last year's levels at the Kabarondo market, respectively. These elevated prices will restrict poor household food access, to a certain degree, during the upcoming lean season. 

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not affected the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the period of January to June 2013. A full discussion of the scenario is available at the January to June 2013 Food Security Outlook


    Projected Outlook through June 2013

    Household food stocks in most areas were replenished during the recent season 'A' harvests. As a result, poor households in most areas of the country are currently relying on their own food production. These households will employ normal livelihood strategies (livestock sales, consumption and sales of own crop production, casual labor, etc.) to access food, and will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through June 2013. Households in the Eastern Semi-Arid Agro-Pastoral zone and the Eastern and Western Congo-Nile areas suffered significant crop losses during the last season. As a result, many households in these areas have resorted to market purchases approximately one month earlier than normal. In addition, the livestock quarantine in the Eastern Semi-Arid Agro-Pastoral zone prevented households at the beginning of this year from earning incomes from livestock and livestock product sales, an important livelihood strategy in this zone. In order to meet essential food and nonfood needs, households in these zones are employing atypical coping strategies, such as intense labor work and skipping meals, and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes from April to June 2013. 

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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