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Improvements in food security anticipated from late December

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Rwanda
  • December 2015
Improvements in food security anticipated from late December

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through March 2016
  • Key Messages
    • Average to above-average Season A rains were received in most areas of Rwanda, supporting favorable production. Food security is expected to improve in most regions with the start of Season A harvests in late December. As a result, the majority of households are expected to remain in, or improve to, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity. 

    • In Eastern Semi-Arid Agro Pastoral livelihood zone, however, there was an erratic start to Season A rains and total rainfall remained below average through November. Consequently, below-average Season A harvests are expected in this livelihood zone and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity is likely to persist among some poor households through early January. 

    • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 71,721 refugees from Burundi are residing in Rwanda as of December 28. The escalation of political tensions in Burundi has caused further displacements into Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. Refugee populations in Mahama and Kigali camps remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) with continued humanitarian assistance.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    Eastern Semi-Arid Agro Pastoral livelihood zone

    • The start to Season A rainfall was erratic and total rainfall amounts remained below average thorough November. Rainfall deficits adversely impacted crop development and livestock body conditions.
    • Below-average Season A harvests are expected given poor crop development and yield losses already incurred.

    Parts of  Bugesera Cassava, Southeastern Plateau Banana, and Eastern Semi-Arid Agro Pastoral livelihood zones

    • Ongoing political tension and violence in Burundi continues to drive population displacements into Rwanda and neighboring countries.

     

    • Further displacements are anticipated from Bujumbura, Kirundo, and Muyinga. Further displacements will put pressure on the capacity of existing camps and the income and food sources of host households.

     


    Projected Outlook through March 2016

    Average to above-average September to December Season A rains, driven in part by the ongoing El Niño, were received in most areas of the country. The exception to this was in Eastern Semi-Arid Agro Pastoral livelihood zone, where there was an erratic start to Season A rains and total rainfall remained below average through November. As a result, below-average vegetation conditions persisted through November (Figure 1). Although vegetation conditions have improved following increased rainfall in December, yield losses were already sustained and livestock body conditions deteriorated slightly. 

    Season A harvests are expected to be average to above average in most areas of Rwanda, including in the Bugesera Cassava and Southeastern Plateau Banana livelihood zones. Production in the Eastern Semi-Arid Agro Pastoral livelihood zone, however, is expected to be below average. This will lead to a deterioration in food security for poor households in this livelihood zone, given many households have depleted stocks from the previous below-average Season B and decreased income from reduced agricultural labor opportunities.

    Bean, maize and cassava flour prices rose seasonally in November and December, leading up to the Season A harvest. This rise, however, was in addition to already high prices that have been sustained throughout 2015. The retail price of maize in Kigali was Rwandan Franc (RWF) 440 in December, above the two-year December average of RWF 402. Food prices remain even higher in Eastern Semi-Arid Pastoral livelihood zone, with maize prices at RWF 500, placing further pressure on household purchasing capacities and food access.

    The political crisis in Burundi continues to drive displacements into Rwanda and other neighboring countries. As of December 28, 71,721 refugees from Burundi have fled to Rwanda. Approximately 96 percent of them are hosted in Mahama and Kigali refugee camps, although an increasing number are leaving camps to settle in host communities. Further displacements into Rwanda are likely, given the recent upsurge in tensions, violence, and civil insecurity in Burundi. This would place additional pressure on the capacities of existing camps and the food and income sources of host populations in the Bugesera Cassava, Southeastern Plateau Banana, and Eastern Semi-Arid Agro Pastoral livelihood zones, and Kigali.

    Most poor households are expected to improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity in late December and maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through March 2016. However, some poor households in the Eastern Semi-Arid Agro Pastoral livelihood zone are likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through March 2016, as a result of expected below-average Season A harvests, constraining access to food and income. Refugee populations in the Mahama and Kigali camps are expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) in the presence of humanitarian assistance. 

    Figures

    Figure 1

    SEASONAL CALENDAR IN A TYPICAL YEAR

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in Kayonza District, Eastern Semi-Arid Agro Pastoral Zone, between January and December 2015, compared to the long-term mean

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Source:

    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.

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