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Below-average Season A rainfall and persistently high agricultural input prices are driving below-average crop production prospects. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are now expected in parts of Western Province (Ngororero, Nyabihu, and Rutsiro districts) and Southern Province (Ruhango district) during the main lean season, which overlaps with the October 2022-January 2023 period. Household food stocks and income will be atypically low, linked to reduced agricultural labor demand. Given concurrent high food prices, households will likely be unable to purchase their essential food needs without foregoing other essential non-food needs. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected in other rural areas, however, where households have sufficient access to interseason crops, livestock and milk sales, and income from weeding labor.
Although a below-average is expected, the availability of the Season A harvest – which starts in December – is expected to provide several months of food stocks for rural households, a seasonal increase in income from crop sales, and a decline in local food prices. Improvement to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) is expected from January until the next harvest in June.
Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are likely to be sustained among the urban population in Kigali City, based on the availability of income from trade, labor, and sales of goods/services. However, high food prices, low-income levels, and high unemployment will continue to constrain household purchasing power among urban poor households, resulting in an atypical increase in the number of people facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.
The population of refugees and asylees in Rwanda more than 127,000 people are likely to remain Stressed! (IPC Phase2!), with monthly food assistance likely preventing deterioration to worse food insecurity outcomes. While many refugees and asylees earn some limited income from employment, informal petty trade, and labor, the majority (> 85 percent) still rely on humanitarian food assistance to meet their daily kilocalorie needs.
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Refugee and asylee population
Households face reduced availability of food stocks and increased reliance on food purchases. Although the Season B harvest was generally average for other staple crops, the season’s crop survey showed a decline in Irish potatoes and beans, due to below average rainfall and below average food stocks. Moreover, many farmers atypically increased crop sales to cover the high cost of farm inputs for subsequent Season A cultivation. Even so, many farmers will likely reduce the amount of planted acreage and see a reduction in overall Season A 2023 crop yields. At the same time, high prices for food and non-food items have contributed to the early depletion of remaining food stocks. The rural CPI (Figure 1) showing higher increment impacts prices of beans, maize, and Irish potatoes that increased by 66 percent, 33 percent, and 100 percent, respectively, compared to July.
While households have intensified their labor activities to earn income, they are likely unable to fully cover their food needs without forgoing other essential expenses. This trend is expected to continue throughout the October-December lean season, leading to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes in some districts in Western Province (Ngororero, Nyabihu, and Rutsiro) and Southern Province (Ruhango). However, the rest of the rural population is expected to maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes. The availability of interseason crops, income from labor sales, and some government food assistance are key factors mitigating more severe deterioration in food insecurity. The resumption of cross-border trade with Uganda and Burundi, following the re-opening of the borders in March, is also offering income-earning opportunities to border communities and a supply of goods to the market. However, due to the outbreak of Ebola in Uganda, prevention measures are still somewhat likely to disrupt trade and migratory labor.
In rural areas, the Season A harvest from late December to February 2023 is expected to replenish household food stocks, provide households with income from crop sales, and lead to relatively lower food prices. These factors will decrease the number of households in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) conditions, sustaining overall Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes in rural areas. However, the likelihood of below-average October to November 2022 rainfall, dominated by a two-week dry spell in early October, will likely reduce the overall Season A harvest. This will likely cause an early depletion of produced food stocks, increasing the number of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) rural households in the April to May 2023 minor lean season.
In Kigali, household income levels are higher than in the past two years, sustained by an economic recovery that has generated employment and business opportunities and continues to support Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes. However, the Q2 Labor survey recorded an urban unemployment rate of 21.9 percent, reflecting an increase from Q1 and Q2. The September 2022 urban CPI also recorded a sustained increasing trend in the prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages. As a result, some households face limited food access due to higher food, transport, and non-food prices, weakening their purchasing power. This trend is likely to increase the number of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) urban households.
According to UNHCR’s September 2022 estimates, Rwanda hosts more than 127,000 protracted refugees and asylees, many of whom lack viable livelihoods and continue to depend almost entirely on humanitarian food assistance. The refugee population is expected to remain Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!), with the current food assistance likely preventing worse food insecurity outcomes. FEWS NET expect partial ration provisions to continue to refugees and asylees, based on limits in available funding and recent trends. High unemployment rates, lack of supplemental sources of food, low income, and increased food and non-food prices leave many refugees at risk of food consumption gaps.
Seasonal Calendar for a typical year
Source: FEWS NET
Year-on-year percent change in the CPI for food and non-alcoholic beverages in urban and rural areas
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.