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Above-average crop production improves food security except in parts of East Province

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Rwanda
  • June 2016
Above-average crop production improves food security except in parts of East Province

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The average to above-average El Niño-induced rainfall from March to May should result in an above normal Season B harvest, with all areas expected to remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through September. However, in East Province, especially in the northern districts of Nyagatare and Kayonza, the late start and early cessation of rains negatively affected crop production, leaving many households in Stressed (IPC Phase 2). 

    • The prices of staples, which have been falling since November 2015, further supporting food access, should continue to decrease with the Season B harvest. They are expected to seasonally increase by October ahead of the lean season and then ease again by December as prices typically decline ahead of the harvest. No severe price hikes are anticipated. 

    • According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as of June 29, Rwanda hosts more than 79,200 refugees from Burundi. The influx of Burundian refugees continues, but in May the pace slowed to about 20 arrivals per day. The Burundi Regional Refugee Response Plan for 2016, that covers both food and non-food needs, is only 17 percent funded for Rwanda. As a result, WFP has had to reduce some school feeding rations due to funding shortfalls. 




    Eastern Semi-Arid Agropastoral Livelihood Zone

    • The March to May rains were average in cumulative totals but poorly distributed and erratic, especially in the districts of Nyagatare and Kayonza. The rains started late and ended early, negatively affecting crops and livestock productivity.
    • Poor household food stocks are expected to deplete faster than normal in parts of East Province due to the below-average Season B harvest. The 2017 Season A harvest may also be insufficient given the average to below-average rainfall forecast for the October to December period.


    • Nearly two thirds of the Burundian refugees live in Mahama Camp in Kirehe District. The 2016 response plan to cover the refugees’ food and non-food needs is only  about 17% funded, which has already led to school feeding ration cuts.
    • Some programs that benefit both the refugees and the local communities, such as local purchases of relief food and school feeding, may be curtailed further due to funding shortfalls. This would increase the refugees’ food insecurity and could lead to deteriorating outcomes.



    Favorable March to May rainfall has supported the development of crops, and the harvest is expected to be average to above average. Information from local partners also supports the expectation of average to above-average production. Falling staple food prices and availability of food stocks have consolidated Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food security outcomes in all areas of the country.

    However, in East Province, the 2016 Season B rains, while relatively near average, were not evenly distributed. The majority of the rainfall occurred over a period of one month, between late April and late May. A FEWS NET visit in early May found favorable sorghum and bean harvests in the southern agropastoral areas of this province. However, due to poor crop production, and in some localized areas reports of crop failure, FEWS NET expects a proportion of poor households in the northern districts of Nyagatare and Kayonza will have difficulty accessing food and will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In Stressed (IPC Phase 2), populations forgo essential non-food needs while protecting their consumption. As a result, these poor households may adopt coping strategies, such as increased livestock sales or off-farm work if available, to mitigate the shortfall in production and agricultural income. There are, however, some reports of long-term unsustainable coping strategies, such as households reducing food intake in order to stretch resources. The Government of Rwanda has food-for-work programs in the Province, and affected households are reportedly given priority, but there could be insufficient demand to adequately cover all needs. Favorable production in adjacent areas and neighboring Tanzania is expected to moderate increases in staple food prices.

    Seasonal forecasts point to a likely near normal start and average to below-average cumulative rainfall for the October to December period, influenced by the anticipated La Niña. Expectations for the January Season A harvest therefore tend toward average to below average at this stage. Regardless, there are expectations that poor households will face average agricultural labor opportunities when land preparation gets underway in September. If prices continue to seasonally decline within average bands, this would further contribute to improved food access and higher purchasing power capabilities. While some households will continue to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in East Province through at least January 2017, the proportion relative to the overall population is limited, at least through September. FEWS NET will continue to monitor closely household food security in these areas into the upcoming lean season, which is from October to December. 

    The Burundi Regional Refugee Response Plan for 2016 for Rwanda that covers both food and non-food needs is likely to continue experiencing serious funding shortfalls, which would mean WFP may need to cut its daily food rations to refugees during the outlook period. 


    Figure 1


    Source: 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.

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