Skip to main content

Average to above-average crop production improves food security across Rwanda

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Rwanda
  • June 2017
Average to above-average crop production improves food security across Rwanda

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Season 2017 B (February to May) rainfall was near-average and well-distributed, resulting in average to above-average harvests across the country. As a result, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected to persist through January 2018. However, localized areas, mainly in Bugesera and Rusizi districts, had below-average crop production due to lower rainfall, and some poor households there are likely to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through January 2018.

    • With the initial harvest, the prices of most food staples decreased in May, after peaking in late April. Greater food availability and price declines are facilitating better food access. Prices are likely to remain lower through early September before the start of the lean season and are then projected to seasonally increase before the Season A harvest in December.

    • According to UNHCR, as of May 31, Rwanda hosts nearly 160,000 refugees, of which 53 percent are from Burundi and the remaining are Congolese. The flow of refugees from Burundi fell to about 550 monthly arrivals this quarter compared to approximately 700 in the first quarter of 2017. WFP recently reported serious funding shortfalls and requires USD 12.6 million to provide in-kind and cash-based food assistance for refugees from June to November 2017.




    Localized areas in Bugesera (Eastern Province) and Rusizi districts (Western Province) 

    ·    Poor households who experienced below average production in sectors of Bugesera and Rusizi districts, are engaging in construction and road building income-earning opportunities and petty trade. This income is facilitating needed market purchases. However, it is likely that some poor households are forgoing essential non-food needs and are facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.


    ·    It is expected that poor households in these areas will utilize these same livelihood strategies through the lean season and into January 2018 to get needed income. This will allow them to stay in Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In Bugesera District, around Rweru Sector, the Government of Rwanda is coordinating efforts to limit the impact of another poor harvest by providing technical assistance in communal food storage and in the expansion of Season C (June to September) acreage in marshlands.

    Mahama Camp in Kirehe District 

    ·    WFP is currently providing assistance to nearly 54,000 Burundian refugees in Mahama camp in Kirehe District, Eastern Province. Nearly two thirds of the Burundian refugees live in Mahama Camp in Kirehe District. Refugees are currently facing Stressed! (IPC Phase 2) outcomes in the presence of humanitarian assistance. 

    ·    If WFP is unable to secure needed funding, a pipeline break for refugees in Mahama camp is likely if there is not any resource re-allocation. Since the refugees have limited access to livelihood activities and are entirely dependent on food assistance, this could increase the refugees’ food insecurity and lead to deteriorating outcomes.


    Season 2017 B (February-May) rainfall was near-average and relatively well-distributed, except in some localized areas of Western Province and Bugesera District. Fortunately, the rains were more sustained and favorable to crops at the end of the season across most areas. As a result, crop production is likely to be higher than 2017 A, especially in Eastern Province, which is the country’s food basket. With the crop production outlook being favorable in Tanzania, the high prices of staple foods that constrained food access in Rwanda over the last year and were the main driver of food insecurity should fall further through January 2018, except with seasonal price rises during the lean season (October to December).

    Against the backdrop of good national food availability and improved access resulting from the Season B harvest, most poor households living in areas that experienced rainfall shortfalls and a premature end of season, particularly in Bugesera and Rusizi districts, are still expected to meet their basic food and non-food needs through January 2018 and face None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity. However, there are expectations that some worst-affected households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. In May, there were some indications that portions of Kirehe District could experience below-average production, but key informants indicate that the harvest appears to be favorable.

    Two villages of Rweru sector in Bugesera District are currently experiencing the poorest Season B crop production; however, a continuous supply of crops, such as cassava and bananas, are helping with household food availability. In addition, poor households in these areas are engaging in alternative income-earning opportunities, such as road building and house construction, which is maintaining them in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity. Similarly, alternative typical livelihood strategies in Rusizi District, such as labor opportunities in nearby tea, coffee, and rice plantations, or petty trade on the Rwanda-DRC border, are expected to allow a significant number of poor households in the sectors most affected to cover their basic food and non-food needs and be in None (IPC Phase 1) through January 2018. Across the country, the production of Season C crops (sweet potatoes, beans, and vegetables) is also expected to bolster food reserves at the start of lean season in September.

    The September to December Season A rainy season is forecast to be below average, which likely means that agricultural labor opportunities and production prospects could be lower for the Season A harvest in some areas; eastern drought-prone areas may be particularly susceptible. However, even if it is below average, the harvest, expected to begin in December 2017, will replenish food stocks and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected to persist across the country through January 2018. Still, some poor households in localized areas of Bugesera and Rusizi districts are likely to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes, particularly during the peak of lean season in October and November. Refugees living in camps in Rwanda are also likely to be in Stressed! (IPC Phase 2) through January 2018 as long as WFP’s funding gaps are adequately addressed. 


    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.

    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