Skip to main content

Significant improvements in household food security following Season A harvests

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Rwanda
  • February 2016
Significant improvements in household food security following Season A harvests

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2016
  • Key Messages
    • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 73,867 Burundi refugees are residing in Rwanda as of February 29. This population remains Stressed (IPC Phase 2!), but only with continued humanitarian assistance. The Rwandan Government recently announced its intentions to relocate refugees to third countries, although exact plans are unknown.

    • Average to above-average Season A short rains, influenced by the ongoing El Niño, supported above-average harvests throughout most of Rwanda, helping maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity. However, in Eastern Semi-Arid Agropastoral livelihood zone, rainfall was erratic and resulted in below-average harvests. Some poor households in this livelihood zone remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2), although recent labor opportunities and decreasing food prices are improving food security.

     ZONE

     CURRENT ANOMALIES

       PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    Eastern Semi-Arid Agropastoral livelihood Zone

    • An erratic start to the September to December Season A rainfall resulted in early season rainfall deficits that negatively impacted crop development.
    • Given below-average Season A production, households are expected to deplete food stocks earlier than normal.

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

    • While the influx of refugees from Burundi has slowed considerably, over 73,867 Burundi refugees are residing in Rwanda
    • UNHCR has witnessed competition for labor opportunities and natural resources, a reduction in labor wages, and inflationary trends in areas where refugees are residing.
    • The Rwandan Government has announced its intentions to relocate Burundi refugees outside of Rwanda

    PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2016

    Average to above-average Season A short rains, influenced by the ongoing El Niño, supported favorable December to February Season A harvests. According to Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Season A crop production was above average nationally. The MoA also reported that 285,203 hectares were put under maize cultivation and 406,698 hectares under beans cultivation, 68 and 50 percent more land, respectively, than was planted during Season A last year. Although production was above average national, harvests were below average in Kayonza, Kirehe, and Nyagatare Districts, all of which are in the Eastern Semi-Arid Agropastoral livelihood zone, where early season rainfall deficits caused yield losses. The resurgence of the rains from November through January significantly improved vegetation conditions in this livelihood zone (Figure 1), leading to improvements livestock body conditions and livestock productivity. However, most poor households own few livestock and therefore do not benefit significantly from improved livestock productivity. 

    Food security began improving in mid-December as Season A harvests increased household and market stocks and the lean season ended.  Increased agricultural labor opportunities during the Season A harvest and land preparation and planting in preparation of Season B provided income-earning opportunities to poor households, supporting food access.

    After sustaining above-average prices throughout 2015, bean, maize, and cassava flour prices all significantly declined in most areas of Rwanda following the Season A harvest. The retail price of a kilogram of beans in Kigali is currently 400 Rwandan Franc (RWF), a reduction of nearly 40 percent from December. However, the retail price of a kilogram of beans in Nyagatare market, in Eastern Semi-Arid Agropastoral livelihood Zone, is 450 RFW, significantly above last year’s price of 300-350 RWA and the two-year average (2012-2013) of 250 RWF. Although livestock prices are increasing marginally, staple food prices in this livelihood zone are increasing at a faster rate. As a result the livestock-to-cereal TOT are deteriorating, reducing household purchasing capacity.

    According to UNHCR, refugee camps in Rwanda continue host approximately 73,867 refugees from Burundi, with just over 95 percent hosted in Kigali and Mahama (Kirehe District) refugee camps. The Rwandan government has recently announced its intentions to relocate Burundi refugees to third countries, although exact plans have not been disclosed.

    Food security for most poor households is expected to maintain or improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity in March as a result of improved food availability and access following the harvest. However, some poor households in Eastern Semi-Arid Agropastoral livelihood zone could move to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) during the April to June minor lean season, as household food stocks are depleted early and food prices are expected to remain above average. Refugee populations in camps in Mahama and Kigali are likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2!), but only with continued humanitarian assistance. 

     

    Figures

    Figure 1

    SEASONAL CALENDAR FOR A TYPICAL YEAR

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in Kirehe District, Eastern Semi-Arid Agropastoral livelihood zone, through mid-February, 2016, compared to the 10-year mean

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    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.

    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