BURUNDI* (10 February)
Harvesting of the main season crops, maize, sorghum and beans, planted in September-October, is currently underway. After a sporadic start of the season, heavy rains were experienced in December and January, except in the north and the northeast of the country where dry weather is expected to reduce the harvest substantially. Torrential rains in late January caused flooding which reportedly destroyed nearly 1 000 homes in the western part of the country. A Joint FAO/WFP/UNICEF/Ministry of Agriculture assessment mission is currently preparing its report. The results should be available soon. This season FAO distributed sweet potato cuttings to 7 500 vulnerable farmers and sorghum seeds to 75 400 households to help the process of farm resettlement. Planting of second season (2005B) crops should begin shortly.
Total cereal production for 2004 was estimated at 281 000 tonnes, about 3 percent higher than the year before. However, there was a decline in the production of legumes due to an early start of the dry season and in roots and tubers due to an outbreak of cassava mosaic virus; prices have increased considerably in some markets.
Insecurity continues to be reported in some areas of Bujumbura Rural province. Thus the slow-moving peace process remains very fragile. Since March 2003 more than 150 000 refugees from Tanzania have returned to Burundi but nearly as many remain in Tanzania.