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Ongoing harvests and anticipated crop production likely to maintain Minimal outcomes

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Rwanda
  • October 2017
Ongoing harvests and anticipated crop production likely to maintain Minimal outcomes

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The ongoing Season C harvest, reportedly average, is replenishing food reserves, particularly in Bugesera District that had a below-average June harvest. The outlook for the 2018 Season A harvest, which begins in December, is favorable, but there is a possibility that Fall Armyworm (FAW) may lead to some crop losses despite Rwanda’s proactive control measures. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected through May 2018, but it is likely that some poor households in localized areas may face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. 

    • As it is already the lean season, food prices remain elevated and are expected to rise further until mid-November, before easing ahead of the Season A harvest. Markets remain well-supplied with local food commodities and regional imports, and poor households’ labor income levels, sometimes augmented with gifts from relatives or safety net assistance, are generally supporting food access. 

    • According to UNHCR, Rwanda hosts about 162,000 refugees, including nearly 58,000 Burundians who live in camps and rely on humanitarian assistance.  Approximately 456 Burundian asylum seekers arrived in September, but larger influxes are likely to come from the DRC due to civil unrest. Facing a severe funding shortfall, WFP recently announced it is likely to institute ration cuts in November for refugees living in camps. 





    ·    Staple food prices have seasonally continued to rise, eroding household purchasing capacity. Locally produced fresh food commodities had the sharpest increase, rising eight percent since July 2017.  

    ·    With a near-average Season A harvest expected in December 2017, staple food prices are likely to ease and rise again in March, according to seasonal trends. The relatively stable economic situation and supply of regional imports are likely to keep prices relatively stable through May 2018.

    Disaster-prone districts in Western Province 

    ·    Strong storms in August and September affected various areas, largely in Western Province (mainly in Rusizi, Karongi, and Nyabihu districts), causing landslides, 11 deaths, and infrastructure and crop damage. To date, assistance being provided is meeting the affected families’ short-term needs.

    ·    With the forecast for above-average rainfall for the remainder of Season A , through January, there is the potential for flooding and landslides to affect crops and cause localized areas of below-average production. However, this is not likely to significantly affect acute food security outcomes due to increasing national capacities in risk reduction and response.


    At a national level, food availability remains favorable in Rwanda, following the generally average 2017 Seasons B and C harvests, in July and September, respectively. The main lean season period is underway through November, but with these two harvests, and given the capacity of the country to import food (mainly maize, fruits, and beans) as needed from neighboring Uganda, Tanzania, and the DRC, market supplies are anticipated to be adequate during the October 2017 - May 2018 outlook period. Prices are also expected to follow seasonal trends. It is important to note that while some localized areas in Bugesera and Rusizi districts had below-average production in July, the positive Season C crop production was particularly significant in Bugesera District since its marshlands’ cultivation contributes approximately 20 percent to its total annual crop production versus other areas where the average for Season C is only about seven percent.

    Overall, food access for poor households remains adequate and most are currently engaging in farm labor and public works income-earning opportunities that are covering their needed market purchases and essential non-food needs. Some of the most vulnerable, particularly in Bugesera and Rusizi districts, are also likely resorting to gifts from relatives in urban areas and Government of Rwanda safety net assistance to cover their minimum food needs but are likely facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.  

    There were some minor early season rainfall deficits in localized western and eastern areas, but cropping conditions have recently improved, and the forecast for the rest of the Season A rains through the end of January is for above-average rainfall. The most likely prognosis for the 2018 Season A harvest is average instead of above average because, according to FAO, there is a high likelihood for a FAW infestation. Since the pest favors maize, that crop is particularly susceptible. FAW has already been detected in all 30 districts, but Rwanda has instituted a robust action plan to manage and control the pest, which is important in containing any infestation.  

    The current forecast for the Season B rains (mid-February to May 2018) is for below-average rainfall, and this may negatively impact agricultural labor opportunities during this period, and could lead to a below-normal harvest in June, which is outside of the scenario period. It is likely that poor households in drought-prone areas are likely to face food access constraints during the April to May lean season, and some of the most vulnerable may face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes once again.

    Due to the political uncertainty and civil insecurity in the DRC, it is likely that there will be an increase in asylum seekers from that country as well as continued influxes from Burundi. WFP recently announced that it requires urgent funding or it will be forced to cut food rations in November for all refugees living in camps in Rwanda. In the absence of humanitarian assistance, FEWS NET assumes the refugees, particularly new arrivals, would face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through May 2018. However, the highest area classification for the country remains Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.


    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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