for official use only


JULY 1996


An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Rwanda from 7 to 15 June 1996 to review the outcome of the 1996 season ‘B’ food crops harvest, to evaluate the food supply situation in the country and to estimate import requirements for the second semester of 1996, including food aid. The Mission visited major food crop growing areas and conducted interviews with Government officials concerned at national and local levels, farmers, officials of NGOs, international agencies of the UN system and bilateral donors. The Mission also benefited from the results of preliminary surveys on the evolution of the 1996 ‘B’ agricultural season, organized by FAO in all prefectures.

Like the preceding season, the 1996 season ‘B’ was characterized by an increase in the area planted averaging seven percent, with major increases for sorghum and potatoes (17 percent) and pulses (14 percent). These developments reflect the improved stability in the interior of the country and the resumption of regular agricultural activities by a considerable number of returning refugees. Growing conditions have been generally favourable, with timely and regular rainfall except for some pockets of drought.

The Mission estimates the 1996 season ‘B’ cereal output at 109 000 tons, of which 85 000 tons of sorghum, 12 400 tons of maize and some 5 500 tons each of wheat and rice (paddy). Estimates for pulses are 72 000 tons, and those for roots and tubers and for bananas are 607 000 tons and 1 049 000 tons, respectively. Compared to the 1995 season ‘B’, these estimates suggest an increase of 38 percent for cereals, 20 percent for pulses and 14 percent for roots and tubers, with banana output at about the same level. Despite these improvements, total estimated food crop production in the 1996 season ‘B’ is still 23 percent below the pre-crisis level of 1990.

The flow of returning refugees has slowed down in recent months and is forecast by the Mission to average 10 000 people per month in 1996. On this assumption, the total population as of September 1996 would be 6 317 000. At the forecast production level, import requirements for the second semester of 1996 are estimated at 35 000 tons of cereals (including 12 000 tons of cereal equivalent corresponding to the shortfall in roots and tuber production) and 28 000 tons of pulses. After allowance for likely commercial imports, the Mission estimates a deficit of 24 000 tons of cereals and 19 000 tons of pulses in the second half of 1996. About 576 000 persons will require emergency food aid during the second semester of this year, some 40 percent of them being population in need of targeted assistance and institutional feeding support and over one-third participating in emergency works programmes for the reconstruction of dwellings and the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector and rural infrastructure. The largest numbers of targeted beneficiaries, in relation to the total population of the prefectures, are in Butare, Gikongoro and Kibuye.

Taking into account the production of the first semester of 1996 (‘A’), the Mission estimates the total 1996 production of cereals at 182 000 tons (29 percent higher than in 1995), of pulses at 189 000 tons (41 percent higher) and that of roots and tubers and of bananas at 1 144 000 tons and 2 105 000 tons ( 30 and 5 percent higher), respectively.

In preparation for the 1997 ‘A’ season, priority efforts will need to be directed towards the multiplication and large-scale diffusion of disease-free planting material for cassava and sweet potatoes, as well as the provision at affordable cost of such inputs as selected seeds for pulses and maize, mineral fertilizer and pesticides. But there is a need to look beyond the next agricultural season towards a thorough rehabilitation of the agricultural sector. International assistance will be especially important for the rehabilitation of the tea, coffee and livestock sectors.


As of June 1996, 1.7 million Rwandans, or 22 percent of the population of early 1994, live in refugee camps outside their country. Sixty-four percent of them are in the camps of Goma, Bukavu and Uvira in Zaire, some 30 percent in the Ngara and Karagwe camps in Tanzania, five percent in Burundi and a small number in Uganda. Most of the current refugees fled their country at the time of the upheavals in April 1994; they are referred to as the “new caseload”. However, there have been several waves of population outflows since 1959; these refugees are referred to as the “old caseload” and many of them have returned since the second half of 1994.

In 1995, a total of 227 000 Rwandans returned to their country, almost two-thirds of them “old caseload” refugees. The average monthly influx amounted to some 19 000 people, with a range from 35 000 in January to 7 000 people in November. The year 1996 opened with the return of 14 000 and 23 000 refugees in January and February, respectively. In the following three months, returns dropped sharply to an average of some 4 200 people per month. Altogether, arrivals from January to May 1996 amounted to 51 000 people. In contrast to last year’s returnees, two-thirds of the refugees returning in the first five months of 1996 belonged to the “new caseload”.

These recent developments suggest two tentative conclusions. First, there may be a shift of returnees from the “old caseload” to the “new caseload”. For the “new” returning refugees it will be easier to verify claims to land titles and reintegrate themselves into productive activity; their farms may have lain fallow or may have been partially cultivated by other family members during their relatively short absence. The Mission witnessed such reintegration of “new” returning refugees and its positive impact on this year’s food production throughout the country. In contrast, the situation is much more complex for those returnees who fled their country some 30 years ago who have no land or property to return to. Second, average monthly returns in 1996 may be closer to 10 000 people than to the 50 000 people returning between 1996 and 1998 assumed as the principal scenario of the Ministry of Agriculture’s perspective plan 1996-2002. The Government does, however, retain monthly returns of 10 000 or 20 000 people as secondary scenarios.

Despite the results of the first five months of this year, UNHCR still considers the return of 200 000 refugees this year, or just 10 percent below last year’s returns, a possible scenario. In fact, it is extremely difficult to forecast the number of returnees given the volatile security situation in the sub-region. After months of low returnees at levels comparable to those observed from March to May 1996, news of improved stability and security in Rwanda or a major increase in existing tensions in Burundi or in Zairian camps could spur a mass re-entry beyond all trend-based forecasts. While it is unlikely that the 50 000 returnees/month scenario will materialize, it is imperative to be prepared for unforeseen contingencies. Given these and other uncertainties, many humanitarian organizations maintain emergency reserves in Rwanda or at sub-regional level.

Table 1 provides current population estimates by prefecture and for the country as a whole. Accordingly, Rwanda’s population in June 1996 is estimated at 6.2 million. Monthly returnees are assumed to amount to 10 000 people. However, in the food Supply/demand Analysis section of the report, food deficit forecasts have also been made based on the other two scenarios of 20 000 and 50 000 returnees per month.

Table 1: Estimated Population by Prefecture (‘000) (As of 31 May 1996)

Butare Byumba Cyangugu Gikongoro Gisenyi Gitarama Kibungo Kibuye Kigali Ruhengeri Rwanda
population 1991 765 780 515 465 730 850 650 475 1 150 770 7 150
population beginning 1994 830 845 560 505 790 925 700 515 1 250 830 7 750
number of people killed 200 50 75 70 25 96 46 77 136 25 800
number of refugees 197 250 73 50 183 76 404 92 216 173 1 714
number of returnees 52 220 31 17 74 20 101 10 200 75 800
Growth rate 1996 9 20 9 7 13 14 7 7 21 15 121
Total population in March 1996 494 785 452 409 669 787 358 363 1 119 722 6 157
Total population in June 1996 502 796 456 413 677 794 368 367 1 132 731 6 237
Total population in September 1996 509 807 461 418 686 802 379 372 1 144 739 6 318
Agricultural population in March 1996 460 769 438 397 642 763 347 352 783 696 5 648
Number of farm households 86 144 75 67 114 142 66 67 141 129 1 029


According to the FAO/WFP mission which visited Rwanda in December 1995, the 1996 season ‘A’ was characterized by an increase in planted area of about 14 percent as compared to 1995 ‘A’. This improvement was due to an increased active agricultural population following the closure of the camps of internally displaced people (IDP) and the return of significant numbers of old caseload refugees, as well as to improved security in the country and the assistance by the international community to the affected population in terms of seeds and agricultural tools. Yields were also generally better due to good rainfall and a low incidence of pests. However, localized drought reduced heavily the yields of beans, maize and groundnuts in some parts.

The production of the 1996 ‘A’ season was estimated at 1.78 million tons or 75 percent of the pre-crisis level of 1990’A’, including 73 000 tons of cereals, 117 000 tons of pulses, 1.06 million tons of bananas and 536 000 tons of roots and tubers. Subsequent estimates made by the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI) in March 1996 showed somewhat lower production levels compared to the mission estimates, which can be explained by the fact that the mission had included a forecast of the small ‘C’ season production, normally accounted for under the two main seasons, ‘A’ and ‘B’.

The Mission was preceded by preliminary surveys of the development of the agricultural season, organized by FAO in cooperation with WFP and MINAGRI in all 10 prefectures. The results of these surveys provided the Mission with a good information base concerning rainfall, planted area, plant diseases and the general crop situation. On this basis the Mission selected seven prefectures, among those most affected by irregularities and inadequacy of rainfall, for a first-hand field inspection of the general crop situation, supplemented by detailed discussions with the staff of the Regional Offices of Agricultural Services (Directions régionales des services agricoles- DRSA) and with farmers. The Mission also consulted the staff concerned at MINAGRI, the Planning Ministry (MINIPLAN) and the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), as well as the technical personnel of the organizations of the United Nations System, NGOs and bilateral donors most concerned with the monitoring of the food and agricultural situation in Rwanda.

2.2.1 Planted area

Like the preceding season, the 1996 season ‘B’ is characterized by an increase in planted area as the combined result of a number of positive factors. These include improved stability in the interior of the country; the resumption of normal agricultural activity by a great number of returnees (both old and new caseloads), many of whom have been installed on farms allocated to them on a permanent basis (especially in the Kibungo and Butare prefectures); the exploitation of certain farms of absentees leased to residents in the prefectures of Ruhengeri and Kibungo in particular; greater availability of inputs in general and of seeds in particular; as well as the assistance by the international community to vulnerable groups.

The Mission estimates the planted area at some 565 000 hectares or seven percent higher than in 1995 ‘B’, with the largest increases for sorghum and potatoes (17 percent each) and beans (14 percent). Nevertheless, the currently planted area represents only 81 percent of that of 1990 ‘B’, before the crisis, because many people is still outside the country; because some pockets of insecurity persist near the borders with Zaire, Burundi and Tanzania; and because the availability of seeds, despite the progress made, remains below requirements in both quantitative and qualitative terms

2.2.2 Yields

For the country as a whole, the rains set in on time and continued regularly until an untimely interruption in early May. However, this interruption is not expected to have a significant impact on crops planted on time, with the onset of rains in January/February 1996, as they had reached maturity. Despite the generally normal rains, pockets of drought were found in the prefectures of Kigali (in the communities of Gashora and a part of Kanzenze), Byumba (Muhura and especially Ngarama), Gitarama (Runda and Nyabikewke), Butare (Shyanda), Gikongoro (Nyamagabe and Rukondo), and Cyangugu (Kagano and Gisuna). In contrast, excessive rains affected the prefectures of Ruhengeri (Cyabingo) and Butare (Maraba, Muyira). The unevenness of the rainfall had a negative impact, which however was essentially localized, affecting mainly late-planted pulses and sweet potato hit at flowering/maturity. All in all, yields are expected to be somewhat greater than those of 1995 ‘B’, especially for sorghum, maize, rice, peas and groundnuts. A major exception from the generally positive picture is soybeans, whose yields suffered from very bad seed quality.

The principal factor in the improvement of yields is the fact that land had stayed fallow on farms which had been only partially, or not at all, operational since the crisis. In addition, many of the factors responsible for the increases in planted area have also had positive effects on yields. Nevertheless, a return to normal yields or at least to those obtained in 1990 is constrained by a combination of factors in addition to climatic ones. The most important ones are: the inadequacy, if not absence, of supplies of high-quality seeds and planting material, especially for cassava, maize and soybeans; the inadequate availability and, above all, the high cost of pesticides (dithane in particular) to combat such pests and diseases as the black aphid on beans and peas, the mosaic and ascariosis diseases of cassava, the defoliant caterpillar on sweet potatoes and the potato mildew.

The highest yields were observed in the Ruhengeri prefecture (where the situation has almost returned to normal with a resident population of 96 percent of pre-crisis levels) for the crops of sorghum, maize, wheat, soybeans and taro.

2.2.3 Production

Table 2 provides a detailed picture of the estimated 1996 ‘B’ production by crop and prefecture. In Table 3, crop production for the whole of 1996 is compared with that of previous years. The Mission estimates that the total food crop production for the 1996 season ‘B’ at 109 000 tons of cereals, 72 000 tons of pulses, 1 049 000 of bananas and 607 000 tons of roots and tubers. Compared to 1995 ‘B’, this represents an overall food crop production increase of seven percent, with the highest increases for sorghum, maize, rice, groundnuts and potatoes. Banana production stagnates.

Altogether, food crop production for the whole of 1996 is estimated to be 15 percent higher than in 1995 (Table 3), but still remains 23 percent below the pre-crisis level in 1990. In terms of per caput production, considering the smaller number of people in 1996, this year’s result is 14 percent below the 1990 level.

Table 2: Estimates of Foodcrop Production for 1996 Season ‘B’ (‘000 tons)

Crop\Prefectures Butare Byumba Cyangugu Gikongoro Gisenyi Gitarama Kibungo Kibuye Kigali Ruhengeri Rwanda
Sorghum 7.4 25.2 0.2 3.9 0.3 6.7 9.6 2.3 25.2 4.4 85.2
Maize 0.3 1.8 0.3 0.1 4.9 1.0 0.6 0.6 1.6 1.2 12.4
Wheat 0.0 1.2 0.0 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.8 0.0 3.2 5.6
Paddy 1.9 0.8 0.9 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.1 0.0 0.8 0.0 5.5
TOTAL CEREALS 9.6 29.1 1.4 4.2 5.4 8.7 10.3 3.7 27.5 8.8 108.7
Beans 2.3 11.7 2.7 0.3 2.9 5.4 4.5 3.1 13.0 14.3 60.2
Peas 0.1 0.6 0.1 0.0 0.2 0.5 0.5 0.3 1.3 0.7 4.3
Groundnuts 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.4 0.2 0.0 1.1 0.0 4.2
Soya 1.4 0.0 0.5 0.7 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 3.2
TOTAL PULSES AND OILSEEDS 3.8 12.8 3.3 1.0 3.3 8.5 5.2 3.4 15.4 15.2 71.9
BANANA 55.4 131.5 59.8 20.2 72.2 149.2 209.1 16.8 233.4 101.8 1 049.4
Potatoes 0.4 2.8 1.1 2.5 21.5 0.9 1.1 3.9 3.0 59.1 96.3
Sweet potatoes 29.0 54.0 14.3 32.5 39.3 57.1 12.4 18.1 40.7 71.2 368.6
Taro & yams 3.5 1.0 6.4 2.3 2.3 5.7 2.5 3.3 6.9 5.5 39.4
Cassava 9.3 11.1 11.9 2.5 4.0 29.3 3.3 1.5 24.9 4.9 102.7
TOTAL ROOTS & TUBERS 42.2 68.9 33.7 39.8 67.1 93.1 19.3 26.8 75.5 140.7 607.0

Table 3: Foodcrop production from 1990 to 1996 by crop (thousand tons)

Crop 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 Change 1996 over 1995 (%) Change 1996 over 1990 (%)
Bananas 2 966 2 777 2 120 2 316 2 136 1 489 2 002 2 105 105 76
Pulses 226 248 242 230 178 51 134 189 141 76
Cereals 221 252 244 239 233 132 141 182 129 72
Roots & tubers 1 320 1 448 1 429 1 783 1 697 1 207 881 1 144 130 79
TOTAL 4 733 4 725 4 035 4 568 4 244 2 879 3 158 3 620 115 77


The Mission found that markets were generally well supplied with food staples. By May 1996, prices of major foodcrops, which are being assessed by FAO in cooperation with WFP and the European Union in 30 principal markets have generally stabilized. The evolution of food prices is shown in Table 4.

Table 4 - National Price Index for Selected Foodcrops, June 1995 - May 1996 (June 1995=100 1/)

1996 1996
Food Item June Sept. Dec. March May
Sorghum 100 90 82 72 68
Maize 100 130 115 105 98
Rice 100 115 123 129 129
Cassava 100 111 96 101 103
Sweet potatoes 100 75 60 60 65
Potato 100 150 114 93 93
Banana (for use as fruit) 100 97 91 84 92
Beans 100 174 131 85 84
Peas 100 144 138 85 79

1/ Calculated from: FAO/WFP/European Community- Rapport des prix agricoles au Rwanda, IIième quinzaine du mois de Mai 1996, Kigali 1996

In a society where some 85 percent of the population is classified as rural and where about 70 percent of food production is destined for self-consumption by farm households themselves, food prices obviously play a limited role. However, for net consumers, declining prices mean improved access to available food supplies and enhanced household food security.

Rwanda’s food stocks situation is essentially determined by food aid stocks and assumptions concerning the amount stored by farm households. In accordance with the production cycle, which favours pulse production in season ‘A’ and cereal production in season ‘B’, the Mission assumed that farm households build up stocks of pulses in season ‘A’ and of cereals in season ‘B’. There is currently no functioning public marketing or reserve facility; the parastatal National Food and Livestock Board (OPROVIA), which used to intervene in markets and hold small stocks, is at present not operational. There is about a dozen of commercial importers of grains and pulses, but they are unlikely to hold significant stocks. In this situation, and given the uncertainties of population movements in the near future, the maintenance by donors of food aid reserves at national or regional level is particularly important.

Food imports statistics compiled by various sources, including the National Customs Office, the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) and the Ministry of Planning (MINIPLAN), do not provide a consistent picture. While all agree on the predominant role of food-aid imports in recent years, they disagree on the size of commercial imports. Moreover, there are no reliable estimates on informal transborder trade with neighbouring countries. The Mission’s estimates of commercial imports are based on their review of the different sources.

With these assumptions, Tables 5 and 6 summarize the Mission’s estimated food balances for the second semester of 1996 and for the entire year, respectively. In preparing these balances, the Mission revised key parameters used by earlier missions. Food consumption was defined as the average apparent consumption of the years 1988/90, i.e. 33 kg of cereals per caput per year, 32 kg of pulses, 188 kg of roots and tubers and 408 kg of bananas. Shortfalls in roots and tubers have been converted into cereal equivalent in order to determine cereal import requirements. However, the current food balances exclude bananas from this conversion. Two-thirds of the bananas produced are consumed in the form of banana beer. While, however, the latter makes a significant contribution to calorie consumption, it is not considered to be easily substitutable, i.e. a shortfall in banana production will not result in the substitution of cereals for bananas in the household food basket. Non-food uses and losses are estimated at 11 percent for cereals, 20 percent for pulses, 9 percent for roots and tubers, and 3 percent for bananas.

Table 5: Food Balance Sheet: July-December 1996 (‘000 tons)

Population 30/09/96: 6,317,000

Total cereals Pulses Total cer&pul Roots&tub. Bananas & Plantains
Domestic availability 120 98 218 607 1 049
Opening stocks 11 26 37 0 0
1996 B production 109 72 181 607 1 049
Total utilization 143 126 269 649 1 320
Consumption 104 101 205 594 1 289
Other uses/losses 12 14 26 55 31
Closing stocks 27 11 38
Import requirements 23 28 51 42 271
(Cereal equivalent)
Requirements cer. equ.1/ 36 28 64 12
Anticipated commercial imports 11 9 20
Food aid 25 19 44

Table 6: Food Balance Sheet January-December 1996 (‘000 tons)

Population 30/06/96: 6,236,000

Total cereals Pulses Total cer&pul Roots&tub. Bananas & Plantains
Domestic availability 212 203 415 1 144 2 106
Opening stocks 30 14 44 0 0
1996 production 182 189 371 1 144 2 106
Total utilization 255 248 503 1 276 2 608
Consumption 206 200 405 1 173 2 545
Other uses/losses 22 38 60 103 63
Closing stocks 27 11 38
Import requirements 43 45 88 132 502
(Cereal equivalent)
Requirements cereal equiv.1/ 82 45 127 39
Est.commercial imports 26 18 44
Food aid 56 27 83
Distrib.up to end-June 21 11 32

1/ Excluding banana cereal equivalent; see explanation in text

In accordance with the observations made in the Population section, the three food balances for 1996 ‘B’, 1996 ‘A’ and the entire year of 1996 assume a population of 6 317 000, 6 158 000, and 6 236 000, respectively. Accordingly, the Mission estimates for the second semester of 1996 supply shortfalls vis-à-vis demand are 23 000 tons of cereals, 28 000 tons of pulses and 42 000 tons roots and tubers. With roots and tubers converted into cereal equivalent, total cereal and pulse import requirements are estimated at 64 000 tons, of which 20 000 tons are anticipated to be covered by commercial imports. This would leave a food-aid requirement of 44 000 tons for the second semester of 1996. An increase in the number of returnees to 20 000 persons per month would have an only negligible impact on food-aid needs. However, an unexpected massive return equivalent to the 50 000 refugees per month scenario in the second semester of 1996 would increase food aid needs by 7 000 tons.

Overall food aid requirements of 44 000 tons of cereals and pulses for the second semester of 1996 (excluding refugees), include 31 812 tons to be provided by WFP with the balance to be covered by other agencies. WFP stocks and confirmed pledges for the second semester of 1996, amount to 10 651 tons of cereals and 7 841 of pulses, totaling 18 492 tons.

For the whole of 1996, the cereal and pulse deficit, including the roots/tuber cereal equivalent, is estimated at 127 000 tons. Commercial imports are estimated at 44 000 tons, leaving a food aid requirement of 83 000 tons.


The Mission visited seven out of the country’s 10 prefectures, including Ruhengeri in the north, Gisenyi in the east, Butare and Gikongoro in the south (which are among those having suffered most during and after the crisis); and Kigali, Kibungo and Byumba in the east (where some drought problems had been reported).

The rains generally set in on time and continued adequately and regularly. There were some isolated cases of excessive precipitation (Maraba and Muyira) and of drought (Shyanda) due to the late start and early stop of rains. Altogether, sowing of cereals and pulses occurred on time in January/February, and at the time of the Mission sorghum was in the maturity stage and beans had almost entirely been harvested. Cassava and sweet potatoes were at various stages, while potatoes were flowering. The crop situation was generally good, but mosaic disease and ascariosis were found on cassava, as was fusariosis on certain abandoned banana plantations. In general, planted area increased by seven to eight percent, while yield gains were noted particularly for sorghum, beans, rice and potatoes.

Despite improvements since last August, the share of food insecure households remains high (20 percent of the population). Since the beginning of the year, 25 000 refugees have returned. A total of 50 000 beneficiaries are currently involved in FFW schemes such as road rehabilitation, house reconstruction and rice plantations. Returnees are mainly surviving on food aid.

Rains set in on time and continued regularly, but were not always well distributed. Some places experienced strong rains in February and April, causing floods and some damage to crops, while in other parts rainfall was insufficient as it stopped in early May. Planting occurred on time, and planted area increased by seven percent over 1995. Major constraints to an increase in the areas planted included the inadequate supply, in quantitative and qualitative terms, of seeds for potatoes and soybeans, and the existence of a significant number of idle farms or farms operated only by women with little capital. Wheat cultivation is on the decrease for lack of markets, while sorghum experiences the opposite trend. In general, the crop situation was good, and cereals and pulses were at the maturation or harvest stage at the time of the Mission.

Yield increases can be expected for beans, potatoes and cassava. However, overall yields are not expected to increase much compared to the preceding season because of low fertilizer utilization and localized diseases observed on potatoes (mildew and bacteriosis), sweet potatoes (insect pests in the area of the Mwogo river), and the still badly maintained banana cultivation.

Food prices, except for sweet potatoes, are well above national average, which means difficulties for the food insecure groups. Some 17 000 people currently benefit from WFP food-for-work programmes, but an increase of this type of programme is envisaged. The security situation in this prefecture gives rise to concern.

In general, rains during the season were timely, regular and well distributed. Only Cyabingo suffered somewhat from excessive rains, which affected beans and sweet potatoes at the flowering stage, as well as bananas.

Ninety-six percent of the pre-crisis population is now back in the prefecture, where conditions have practically returned to normal. Planted area has increased by six percent over the 1995 season ‘B’ linked to adequate seed availability, the resumption of agricultural activity by the 1995 returnees and the utilization of agricultural lands by resident farmers. As a result of prolonged fallow periods and adequate, though expensive, fertilizer supplies (except for NPK fertilizer), yields have improved vis-à-vis 1995 ‘B’ for sorghum, bananas, cassava, and to a lesser degree pulses. Yields for beans would have been higher had it not been for a not yet identified insect pest observed in Kidaho and Cyeru. The decline of soybean yields is linked to inferior-quality seed material as well as lacking market opportunities, which induce farmers to substitute soya beans and sweet potatoes.

Rural markets are well furnished and surplus production is regularly traded. Food prices are well below national average. Some 16 000 returnees in resettlement areas and food insecure groups are currently integrated in rural rehabilitation (food-for-work) programmes.

Rainfall has generally been satisfactory, except for some excess rains in June in the area of the town of Giseyni, provoking heavy hillside erosion which may threaten beans and maize cultivation, as well as tea plantations.

Generally, the total planted area has increased little, despite adequate seed availability, with the maximum increases for sorghum, beans and potatoes. An explanatory factor is the insecurity which perturbs agricultural activity in the border areas with Zaire in such communities as Nyamyumba, Kayove, Kanama and Rwerere, as well as the cessation of external assistance in the south of the prefecture.

The general crop situation was good at the time of the Mission, with little disease and pest incidence except for mosaic disease on cassava. Moreover, banana plantations of absentees were badly maintained by resident farmers. Yields are generally expected to be similar to those in 1995 ‘B’, with some improvements for potatoes, peas and above all maize.

Due to insecurity and a virtual cessation of transborder exchanges, food prices are rising. Some 60 000 “old caseload” are currently resettling in the prefecture. Some 14 000 beneficiaries will be supported by food-for-work schemes. The influx of some 15 000 Masisi (Zaire) refugees is contributing to the deterioration of the food-security situation. The security situation in the Lake Kivu and Gishawati Forest regions gives rise to concern.

Rains set in on time and continued regularly and satisfactorily in the northern part of the prefecture, while they were inadequate and badly distributed in the eastern/south-eastern part. Planted area was 10 percent higher than in 1995 ‘B’, with an increase of 20 percent for sorghum, potatoes and sweet potatoes. Excess rains in high-altitude communities have affected yields of pulses and peas, which were at flowering stage.

Worst affected are the eastern communes of Muhura and Ngamara, where late planting (end-March instead of early March) linked to insufficient and irregular rains, as well as pests and diseases (black aphid on pulses, defoliant caterpillar on sweet potatoes, mosaic disease on cassava and mildew and rot on potatoes) have negatively affected the crop situation. However, with regard to cereals, the situation was satisfactory at Muhura and less so at Ngarama.

The main problem of the prefecture is the resettlement of some 200 000 “old caseload” returnees in the north-eastern region of Mutara. The rice rehabilitation scheme through food-for-work programmes is contributing to food security. Food-for-work schemes involving some 40 000 people will continue, and so will the support to nutrition centres and orphanages.

Rains and planting were on time. Planted area increased by eight percent over 1995 ‘B’, with 15 percent for potatoes. Lack of inputs was a constraint in the southern part of the prefecture. In contrast to the North of Kigali, which experienced a good season with ample input availability (NPK, urea, selected planing material for potatoes), the South registered shortfalls in rains in the communities of Gashora and Kanzenze and phytosanitary problems (striga on sorghum in Ngenda, defoliant caterpillar on sweet potatoes, green crickets, mosaic disease on cassava and black aphid on beans). Altogether, however, yields will be superior to those of 1995 ‘B’, especially for peas, soybeans and potatoes.

Some 43 000 people currently benefit from food-for-work programmes. While food assistance to Kigali city could be reduced, giving improvements in living conditions there, future efforts will focus on the prefecture’s rural areas.

Rainfall was generally satisfactory and planted area increased by eight percent. The major constraint was the insufficient input availability (especially fertilizer and seeds) and phytosanitary problems, with defoliant caterpillar on sweet potatoes, black aphid on pulses, mosaic disease on cassava, and weevil and fusariosis on bananas. However, compared to the preceding season, yields improved for peas, potatoes, taro and cassava.

Kibungo is still scarcely-populated, with properties and land abandoned. Due to the arrivals of returnees from Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi, the livestock population has increased. Food security is generally satisfactory in the area. However, the main problem in this prefecture is the expected return of large numbers of refugees. Due to delays in the starting of the housing construction programme, WFP will continue to support some 17 000 returnees through free food distribution, while some 14 000 beneficiaries will benefit from FFW schemes. The success of resettlement schemes is essential to avoid dangerous land conflicts.


During the first semester of 1996, the major food aid donors - WFP, ICRC, CRS and the European Community - distributed 33 000 tons of food aid, of which about two-thirds cereals and 30 percent pulses. This amount covered about 85 percent of the cereal/pulses food aid requirements estimated by the FAO/WFP Mission of December 1995 for that period and was less than one-half of the quantity provided in the first semester of 1995. Food aid was above all targeted to the chronic food deficit areas of the South-West: Gitarama, Butare, Gikongoro and Kibuye.

In-country food-aid stocks at the beginning of June amounted to some 14 000 tons, with about 40 000 tons in ex-country stocks for regional allocation as needed; a further 59 000 tons for the region are in the pipeline. In the Mission’s view, food aid availabilities are satisfactory considering projected requirements, even when allowing for higher returns of refugees than those assumed in the standard scenario.

Some 45 percent of the food distributed is used in emergency works programmes for the reconstruction of dwellings and the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector and rural infrastructure. Populations not able to participate in food-for-work programmes receive either targeted food assistance or participate in institutional feeding programmes. For the second semester of 1996, an estimated 576 000 people or 9 percent of the total population will require food aid, some 40 percent of them being targeted groups and one-third potential food-for-work participants. (Table 7). Returnees are among the priority target population, considering that most of them have very limited resources and some of them limited access to land. Particularly those returning to the southern part of the country are experiencing severe food security problems.

Table 7: Beneficiary number by Prefecture and type of programme (July-December 1996)

Number of Beneficiaries Food Aid Requirements
Prefecture Institutional feeding FFW rehab. Targeted food assistance Repatriation TOTAL Cereals Pulses Oil
Butare 3 700 49 000 17 000 20 000 89 700 5 258 2 460 322
Byumba 4 000 39 000 3 000 3 000 49 000 2 952 1 588 194
Cyangugu 8 000 26 000 7 000 5 000 46 000 2 748 1 292 169
Gikongoro 1 000 17 000 28 000 3 000 49 000 2 316 1 001 136
Gisenyi 2 500 14 000 5 000 7 000 28 500 1 704 763 102
Gitarama 2 000 29 000 8 500 3 000 42 500 2 406 1 244 155
Kibungo 2 300 10 000 6 000 5 000 23 300 1 342 582 79
Kibuye 3 000 13 000 25 000 4 000 45 000 2 184 889 125
Kigali 4 000 39 000 7 500 3 000 53 500 3 114 1 636 203
Ruhengeri 1 500 14 000 5 000 7 000 27 500 1 632 742 98
Sub-total 32 000 250 000 112 000 60 000 454 000 25 656 12 197 1 583
Detention 52 000 52 000 1 560 936 156
Orphans 2 000 2 000 144 43 7
Pan project 53 445 53 445 3 049 369 156
Masisi refugees 15 000 15 000 1 080 324 54
RWANDA 139 445 250 000 112 000 75 000 576 445 31 489 13 869 1 956


A continuation of the improvement of Rwanda’s food and agricultural situation into the 1997 ‘A’ season will critically depend on priority efforts to remove the production constraints observed during the current Mission’s visit. These efforts will need to be directed towards the multiplication and large-scale diffusion of disease-free planting material for cassava and sweet potatoes, as well as the provision at affordable prices of such inputs as selected seeds for pulses and maize, and mineral fertilizer and pesticides.

But there is also a need to look beyond the next agricultural season towards a thorough rehabilitation of the agricultural sector and its eventual change-over from extensive and traditional agriculture towards a modern and intensive sector. The Government of Rwanda has initiated a process of reflection on possible courses of action in the medium term, over the period of 1996 to 2002. Collaborative efforts by the Planning Ministry’s Permanent Roundtable Secretariat, the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO have delineated a tentative set of strategic objectives, including an increase in cultivable land per farm household, through inter alia improved utilization of wetlands (“marais”), and improved natural resource management in the crop, livestock and agro-forestry subsectors. Actions in support of these objectives will require investments in the order of US $ 150 million.

Moreover, of particular immediate importance for the Rwandan economy is the rehabilitation of the coffee and tea sub-sectors, for which international assistance will be crucial. This year’s coffee harvest, beginning in June, is estimated to yield some 22 000 tons, which is one-half of pre-crisis levels. Coffee quality has dropped sharply over past years, and inadequate maintenance of plantations will make recovery of this sub-sector slow. In the tea sub-sector, a beginning has been made with the rehabilitation of tea processing factories, five of which are now operational; another four are to resume operations shortly. It is estimated that 1 500 to 2 000 jobs are created for every tea factory rehabilitated.

This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources and is for official use only. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required.

Abdur Rashid
B. Szynalski
Director, OP, WFP
Telex 610181 FAO I
Fax: 0039-6-5225-4495
Telex: 626675 WFP I
Fax: 0039-6-5228-2837
Rome, 17 July 1996
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