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Continued insecurity disrupts access to food and income

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burundi
  • February 2016
Continued insecurity disrupts access to food and income

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Above-average October to December Season A rainfall, driven in part by the ongoing El Niño, has resulted in average harvests across much of Burundi. However, harvests were below-average in conflict-affected areas where displacements and reduced access to inputs disrupted production. Some households in the conflict-affected provinces of Bujumbura Mairie, Citiboke, Kirundo, Makamba, Muyinga, Mwaro, and Rumonge are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) while many households remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    • According to the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees, as of February 25, 245,265 Burundi refugees have been displaced to Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Additionally, a recorded 25,081 persons are internally displaced in Kirundo, Makamba, and Rutana Provinces. Continued insecurity and additional displacements are expected. 







    Kirundo, Muyinga, Makamba,  Mwaro, Citiboke, Bururi, Rumonge and Bujumbura Mairie Provinces

    • Disruptions from conflict and political violence have resulted in below-average Season A agricultural production, despite favorable rainfall.
    • Household food stocks are likely to be exhausted earlier than usual for conflict-affected households that had a below-average harvest, increasing the length and severity of the February to May lean season.

    Kirundo, Muyinga, Makamba,  Mwaro, Citiboke, Bururi, Rumonge and Bujumbura Mairie Provinces

    • Continued political instability has displaced households, limiting the number of and access to labor opportunities, ultimately lowering household purchasing capacity.
    • A resolution to the conflict has not been reached and violence is growing.  Many households residing in conflict-affected areas are isolated and are likely to become even more vulnerable given the expected further decrease in functioning markets and income-earning opportunities.


    • Macroeconomic instability and austerity measures put in place by the Burundi government are limiting access to basic services.
    • Expected further depreciation of the Burundi Franc throughout most of 2016 is likely to further reduce the purchasing capacity of all households.

    The October to December Season A rains, driven in part by the ongoing El Niño, were above normal across most areas of the country. The harvesting of most staple crops, including maize, beans, and cassava, is nearly complete and production is expected to be average in non-conflict-affect areas. However, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates that Season A production will be 10 percent below the 5-year average nationally. This is due to well below average production in the conflict-affected areas in Rumonge, Bujumbura, Muyinga, Kirundo, and Makamba Provinces, where production was severely disrupted by population displacement, reduced income for inputs, and limited access to fields and input markets. For households for whom production was significantly below average due to conflict, the lean season will likely continue beyond June with few to no stocks and reduced income-earning opportunities. Production prospects for the upcoming March to May Season B are poor, due to the continued displacement of the workforce and farmers’ limited access to fields and inputs.

    Heavy rainfall in January resulted in flooding and landslides in the western and central highlands, displacing an estimated 30,408 people. The displaced are residing in host households and in IDP camps in Rumonge, according to an assessment conducted by the Provincial Platform for Risk Prevention and Disaster Management and the Red Cross. Season B production is likely to be below average in this area as many fields are flooded and households remain displaced. Missing Season B production will further disrupt the livelihoods of displaced households and decrease their food security. 

    While food prices have declined seasonally in some markets away from conflict epicenters, including in Kayanza, Muramvya, Mwaro, Caniuzo, and Bubanza Provinces, food prices remain above average in markets near conflict-affected areas. The February 2016 retail price of maize in Bujumbura is 958 BIF per kilogram as compared 612 BIF at this time last year. In Gitega the retail price of beans in February 2016 is 1,009 BIF per kilogram compared to 708 BIF in February 2015. Staple food prices are expected to continue rising in conflict-affected areas through at least June as households exhaust food stocks early. Trade disruptions, as a result of the growing insecurity, are expected between Burundi and neighboring Tanzania and Rwanda and will further limit imports that contribute to food supplies, putting additional upward pressure on food prices. 

    The Burundi government has instituted austerity measures, cutting public spending in 2016 by nearly 16 percent, primarily in response to the country’s 7.2 percent reduction in gross domestic production (GPD) in 2015 and expectations that foreign aid will reduce by nearly 50 percent as many donors suspend financial support over the political turmoil. Burundi’s year-on-year inflation rose to 7.1 percent in December 2015 from 5.8 percent in November, following increased food costs and the depreciating Burundi Franc, further reducing the purchasing capacity of households.

    Acute food insecurity is expected to persist among poor and displaced households in Kirundo, Muyinga, Makamba, Mwaro, Citiboke, Rumonge, and Bujumbura Provinces. Household food availability and access is severely constrained by limited food stocks, inability to access farms or markets, and below-average labor opportunities due to disruptions in economic activity and agricultural production. As a result, some households and displaced populations in these areas are expected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), while many others are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through at least September, with the most food insecure months during the February to May lean season. 


    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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