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A near-average season 'B' harvest is expected in June

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Rwanda
  • May 2013
A near-average season 'B' harvest is expected in June

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
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    Key Messages
    • In the Western and Eastern Congo-Nile zones, as well as the Eastern Semi-Arid Agro-Pastoral zone, the lean season began earlier than normal due to below-average season 'A' harvests in January/February 2013. As a result, poor households are engaging in atypical coping strategies and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity until the next harvests in June.

    • Throughout the country, season 'B' rainfall levels have been normal to above-normal. Planting activities took place on-time in early March and a near-average harvest is expected in June. This harvest will replenish household and market food stocks and will improve food access. Poor households will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between July and September.

    Current Situation
    • Cropping season 'B': The agricultural season is underway across the country following a normal start of planting activities in March and average rainfall levels. In most areas, field crops are developing normally (Figure 3) and are nearing the maturity stage.
    • Food sources: In the Western and Eastern Congo-Nile zones, as well as the Eastern Semi-Arid Agro-Pastoral zone, poor households depleted their food stocks one month earlier than normal (at the beginning of April) and are currently market dependant. Poor households in some areas are also consuming green leaves, which is normal for this time of the year.
    • Income sources: Agricultural wages are seasonally low at this time of the year as season 'B' planting activities have now been completed and there is an increased presence of migrant laborers, from both within Rwanda as well as from northern areas of Burundi. Wages are also lower than last year's levels in many areas due to the presence of additional DRC refugees, who arrived in 2012, and the completion of activities on some Land Husbandry, Water, Harvesting, and Hillside Irrigation project sites that have been providing labor opportunities for the last several years. In addition, a drop in international coffee prices has resulted in local coffee growers earning below-average incomes from this income source.
    • Livestock conditions: Due to the ongoing rainy season, pasture and livestock body conditions are at relatively normal levels and will improve through June. However, livestock prices are slightly below-average as many households who depleted their food stocks earlier than normal are selling additional animals as a coping strategy. In the region surrounding Gishwati, an estimated 100 cows were identified with food and mouth disease in late April. As a result, an animal quarantine has been imposed since May 1, 2013 for three sectors (Cyanzarwe, Busasamana and Mulinga). In the quarantine areas, livestock incomes have been reduced as no intra-zonal livestock trade, as well as trade with other regions of Rwanda and the DRC, is being allowed.
    • Staple food prices: Market supplies of beans and maize are currently low as it is now several months after the end of the last harvest. Market supplies of cassava, meanwhile, are relatively good as the April/May period is the peak harvest period for these crops. Food prices are following normal seasonal trends although they are generally above last year's levels due to the below-average, season 'A' harvests. For example at the wholesale market in Kigali - a relatively good indicator of the country's general price trends - April prices for beans were 14 percent above April 2012 levels. Similarly, cassava flour prices at the same market were up 51 percent compared to the same time last year. The upcoming June harvest is expected to replenish household and market food stocks to normal levels, and will likely cause prices to stabilize or decline until late September.
    • Returnees: Due to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Cessation Clause, an estimated 70,000 Rwandan refugees living within neighboring countries will lose their refugee status on June 30, 2013. Most of these refugees are expected to return to Rwanda in the next several months. 

    Updated Assumptions

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

    Projected Outlook through September 2013

    Household food stocks in most areas are depleted and poor households are relying on food purchases and bridge crops to meet their consumption needs. Until the next harvests in June, poor households in most areas of Rwanda will be able to generate the necessary cash income to access food normally through market purchases by employing typical livelihood strategies (livestock sales, consumption and sales of own crop production, casual labor, etc.). In these areas, poor households will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through September.

    However, in the Western and Eastern Congo Nile zones and Eastern Semi-Arid Agro-Pastoral zone where household food stocks depleted approximately one month earlier than normal, poor households are currently resorting to coping strategies, such as atypical levels of migration and the sale of assets, to meet essential food and nonfood needs. Poor households in these livelihood zones will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the next green harvests in June and will then face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) between July and September. 

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Evapotranspiration Anomaly, April 2013

    Figure 2

    Evapotranspiration Anomaly, April 2013

    Source: USGS/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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