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Early depletion of household stocks expected to reduce food access in some areas

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Rwanda
  • July - December 2014
Early depletion of household stocks expected to reduce food access in some areas

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Partner
    Key Messages
    • Season B harvests were below average in many parts of the country, reducing food availability during the dry season. Poor April to June rainfall reduced crop yields, especially maize and beans, which are primary staple foods for poor households. Production deficits were highest in the Eastern Semi-Arid Agro-Pastoral Zone, the Bugesera Cassava Zone, and the Eastern Congo Nile Highland Subsistence Farming Zone, where harvests were 30 to 60 percent below-average.

    • In areas where production deficits were highest, households are expected to exhaust food stocks by the end of July, two months earlier than normal. The combination of increased household expenditure on food and seasonal decline in wages during the dry season is expected to reduce capacity of poor households to meet essential food and non-food needs over the coming months. Food security will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in these areas from August to September.

    • In livelihood zones where crops performed better and production was closer to average, households will be able to address food needs through normal livelihood strategies from July to December with Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity. Overall improvements in food security are expected in December when Season A harvests begin.

    National Overview

    Current Situation

    Below-average March to May cumulative rainfall compromised crop performance for Season B harvests. Overall production for Season B was below average and dry spells in some areas between April and May further reduced yields, especially for maize and beans. The largest production deficits occurred in the Eastern Semi-Arid Agro-Pastoral Zone, the Bugesera Cassava Zone, and the Eastern Congo Nile Highland Subsistence Farming Zone.  In these areas, maize production is estimated to be 30 to 50 percent below average. Beans production is estimated to be roughly 40 to 60 percent below average.  Although harvests replenished food stocks for most households, current levels are lower than as is typical during the post-harvest period.

    Season C planting of beans, maize, and vegetables continued in July. Since these crops are planted in low-lying areas and marchlands and depend on residual water from Season B rains, drier-than-normal conditions may affect crop yields.  Season C typically accounts for roughly 10 to 15 percent of national production.

    Pasture and water resources for livestock declined in July due to below-average Season B rainfall. Deteriorating livestock body conditions could lead to reduced availability of animal products, such as meat and milk. Livestock prices remained stable in July and above-average in some areas.  In Nyagatare, an average-sized cow sold for 200,000 to 250,000 Rwandan Francs (RWF) compared to last year’s price of 170,000 to 180,000 RWF.

    With the start of the dry season, agricultural labor opportunities and wages have begun a typical decline. Average daily wages in July were 500 RWF per day compared to 800 RWF per day in June, the last month of the harvest period.  In addition to off-farm casual labor, poor households are currently generating normal levels of income from petty trade and labor linked to the Vision 2020 Umurenge Program.

    While beans and maize prices rose from May to June, prices of other staple foods remained stable. On average, beans and maize prices increased by 10 percent from May to June, when they typically decline following harvests. In areas such as the East where production deficits were greatest, beans prices in June were between 10 and 24 percent higher than last year and 10 to 35 percent above the two-year average. Irish potato prices stabilized in June compared to May. Cassava flour prices varied across markets due to year-round availability, particularly in the southeast. Cooking banana prices have remained stable in most markets. However, in Kimironko, Bugarama, Byumba, Butare and Kabarond markets, cooking banana prices increased in June. Findings of a recent field assessment suggest increased exports by local farmers to the Democratic Republic of Congo via Balarama, because of higher prices across the border.


    Figures Seasonal calendar of typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar of typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2


    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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