Skip to main content

Season B green harvest and reduction in food prices improve food access

  • Key Message Update
  • Rwanda
  • May 2023
Season B green harvest and reduction in food prices improve food access

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The start of the Season B green harvest in mid-April contributed to sustaining Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes for most households across the country. Moreover, the prices of maize, rice, and Irish potato have decreased by 30 to 40 percent after the removal of the value-added tax (VAT) in April, further improving food access for households. In addition, the upcoming Season B harvest in June is expected to significantly replenish food stocks for most households in rural areas, not only improving access to food but also reducing seasonal food prices. Despite the positive developments, the prices of food and non-food items remain above average, particularly affecting poor rural households who heavily rely on the market to access their food. The National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) reported that the monthly food inflation rate in rural areas slowed in April (2.9 percent) compared to March (6.8 percent), but the annual food inflation rate remained very high at 62.6 percent.

    • Heavy rainfall during Season B triggered a flash flood in early May, mainly in western Rwanda, affecting more than 110,000 people, damaging around 10,000 hectares of cropland, and causing 135 deaths. The flood destroyed infrastructure, cropland, and stored food in the affected areas, which will likely reduced access to food and income among the affected households in the short-term and medium-term. The districts most severely affected by the flood include Rutsiro, Nyabihu, Rubavu, and Ngororero in the Western Province; Burera, Gakenke, and Musanze in the Northern Province; and Nyamagabe in the Southern Province, where the Season B harvest is now expected to be below average. The government and partners are providing humanitarian assistance in the form of food and non-food items to prevent food consumption gaps among the affected population, and efforts are underway to permanently relocate displaced individuals to areas less prone to flooding. Levels of food and non-food assistance are sufficient to completely cover their kilocalorie needs, supporting None! (Minimal !) levels of acute food insecurity among flood-affected households.

    • Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected in Kigali City during the projection period, and access to food is expected to improve due to growing economic activity, including enhanced income-earning opportunities and cross-border trade and reduced staple food prices. Despite the removal of VAT on selected staple foods, however, food prices in Kigali City remain high, which continues to constrain purchasing power and food access for very poor urban households. As a result, very poor urban households in Kigali City are likely to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. According to NISR, the April urban food inflation rate stood at 36.8 percent compared to last year and 2.2 percent compared to March.

    • The estimated 127,000 refugees and asylees in Rwanda are expected to face Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes throughout September, with the cash and food assistance by WFP preventing worse food insecurity outcomes. The assistance is approximately enough to cover 50 percent of the monthly food basket. Ongoing fighting in the eastern DRC has resulted in an influx of approximately 6,600 new asylum seekers since November 2022, who are being temporarily accommodated in the Nkamira transit site. The influx of new arrivals is likely to strain existing humanitarian assistance resources. Furthermore, poor households in Nyamasheke and Rusizi districts in Western Province are likely to have below-average income due to the continuing conflict along the border with DRC that disrupts cross-border trade and labor prospects. 

    Recommended Citation: FEWS NET. Rwanda Key Message update, May 2023. Season B green harvest and reduction in food prices improve food access, 2023.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more 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