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Food insecurity persists among poor households in southern and eastern Rwanda

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Rwanda
  • July 2015
Food insecurity persists among poor households in southern and eastern Rwanda

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through December 2015
  • Key Messages
    • Food security has improved country-wide following Season B harvests. However, many poor households in the Bugesera Cassava, Southeastern Plateau Banana and Central Plateau Cassava and Coffee Livelihood Zones will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in the coming months, due to low Season B production, increased food and fuel prices, and diminished labor opportunities.

    • A 12 percent rise in fuel prices, in early July compared to May, coupled with the depreciation of the Rwandan Franc, is expected to drive increases in food and on-food prices, constraining purchasing capacities among poor households in already low-production areas. Limited alternative income-earning opportunities coupled with eroded coping strategies will sustain stressed levels due to limiting household food access.


     

     ZONE

     

        CURRENT ANOMALIES

       

         PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    Bugesera Cassava, Southeastern Plateau Banana and Central Plateau Cassava and Coffee Zones

    • Maize, bean, cassava, and sweet potato harvests are below average due to poor start to Season B rains and subsequent localized flooding.
    • Household food stocks are expected to be lower than normal, compounded by little or no carryover stock, leading to early depletion of food stocks, constraining household food access.

    Central Plateau Cassava and Coffee Zone in Kamonyi, Muhanga, Ruhango districts

    • High cassava production losses due to the Cassava Brown Streak Virus, from December through June.
    • Cassava prices are likely to remain above-average due to reduced cassava production

    Kirehe, Bugesera, Kigali, Nyanza, Nyagatare and Huye districts

    • Refugee inflow from Burundi continues due to ongoing election-related violence and instability. A quarter of the refugee population is unregistered and hosted by poor households, straining food and income sources.
    • The Burundian refugee population is expected to continue to increase in the coming months due to ongoing political unrest.

    National

     

    • A 12 percent increase in fuel prices causing a concomitant increase in transport and other costs.
    • Food prices are likely to rise as transport and production costs increase through September, at least.

    Projected outlook through December 2015

    Household food security has improved significantly in many areas of Rwanda, following increased food supply from Season B harvests of maize, beans, cassava, and sweet potatoes, in June through early July.  The Ministry of Agriculture reported average to above-average Season B food production countrywide, except in parts of the South and East.  Harvests have increased food availability and replenished household food stocks across the country and most poor households have reduced market purchases. Production has been below-average in Bugesera Cassava, Southeastern Plateau Banana, and Central Plateau Cassava and Coffee Livelihood Zones due to a poor start to Season B. Extensive replanting has delayed maize harvests in these areas. Poor households in the Central Plateau Cassava and Coffee Zone in Kamonyi, Muhanga, Ruhango districts also face a late maize harvest after planting the crop in areas where cassava was destroyed by the Cassava Brown Streak Virus, well into Season B.  Poor households in the Central Plateau Cassava and Coffee Zone in Kamonyi, Muhanga and Ruhango districts are likely to experience reduced access to food even during the harvest because locally produced maize is expected to supply the more lucrative, better-off households in the Democratic Republic of Congo, reducing domestic supply while increasing local prices, in addition to reduced income from cassava sales.

     

    Staple food prices remain above average in many areas due to a combination of production deficits and above-average fuel prices.  Bean prices are currently 10 to 15 percent above average and cassava prices are 50 to 62 percent higher than average. Fuel prices increased by 12 percent between May and early July, while the local currency, the Rwanda Franc, has depreciated by 3.6 percent, since January.  High fuel prices and currency depreciation have exerted upward pressure on transport and other food and non-food commodity prices, eroding purchasing capacities of poor households. Poor producer households have not benefited from increased food prices due to their low production levels. Instead, they are likely to purchase basic staples at higher than average prices, much early than normal  

     

    While an estimated 71,000 Burundi refugees have fled to rural and urban areas of Rwanda, about a quarter of them are un-registered.  The majority of the refugees are in Kirehe (Mahama camp), Bugesera, Kigali, Nyanza, Nyagatare and Huye districts.  A significant proportion of the refugees hosted by poor resident households are exerting additional pressure on household purchasing capacities as food stocks are depleting faster than usual and access to labor opportunities declines. The unresolved political situation in Burundi is likely result in increased displacements which will likely put further strain on access to food and income among poor households in the Bugesera Cassava Livelihood Zone, in particular, the main entry corridor.

     

    Acute food insecurity is expected to remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) for poor households in most areas of the country through December. Many poor households in the Bugesera Cassava, Southeastern Plateau Banana and Central Plateau Cassava and Coffee Livelihood Zones are expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to below-average production, above-average food and non-food prices, and reduced labor opportunities. Although agricultural labor opportunities are expected to increase from September through December, improved household income will be insufficient to compensate for a succession of below average seasons, limited carryover food stocks, and reduced labor income in these areas. 

    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    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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