GLOBAL INFORMATION AND EARLY WARNING SYSTEM ON FOOD AND AGRICULTURE 
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME 
 
 

SPECIAL REPORT

FAO/WFP CROP AND FOOD SUPPLY ASSESSMENT MISSION TO BURUNDI

20 March 1998




1.OVERVIEW

An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Burundi in February 1998 to evaluate the 1998 first season (1998A) production, forecast harvest for the second and third seasons (1998B and C), and estimate the countryís import and food aid requirements for 1998. The mission had consultations with government officials and representatives of UN and other bodies, and visited all the countryís provinces. In preparation for the mission, a preliminary survey had been carried out by two national consultants in twelve provinces where security conditions permitted.

The mission noted an improvement in security conditions which allowed some of the population in regroupment and displacement camps to return to their farms during the second half of 1997. Thus the number of people in camps fell by 14 percent between June 1997 and January 1998 from 665 374 to 572 462, representing 9 percent of the total population in February 1998. This population movement, together with repatriation from outside the country, led to an increase in planted areas in 1998A season.

The 1998 first season started with adverse weather conditions, marked by a prolonged dry spell. The rains arrived a month late in most of the country (in mid-October) and were unusually heavy, causing flooding in marshlands, and inducing heavy pest infestation of some crops, reducing yields.

The mission forecasts the 1998A season total food production at 1 142 000 tonnes, a decline of 2 percent on 1997A season production, which was itself below average. The greatest falls were in pulses and cereals (16 and 13 percent respectively). In comparison with the average of season A production between 1988 and 1993, the 1998 first season production is 20 percent lower.

Forecasting the 1998 B and C seasons with any degree of accuracy is difficult at this early stage. However, considering on the one hand an increase in planted areas, and on the other a probable decline in yields as a result of shortages of fertilizer and quality seed, the 1998B season production is projected to remain at last yearís level. By contrast, if weather conditions are normal, season C production should show a marked increase against the very low 1997 level, which was affected by flooding at harvest time.

On this basis, the mission provisionally projects total food production for 1998 at 3 587 000 tonnes, against the revised 1997 estimate of 3 183 000 tonnes, or an increase of 13 percent. However, this level of production could still be 9 percent below the 1988-1993 average.

With a mid-1998 population estimate of 6 283 700, and an apparent per caput consumption derived from the reduced quantities available between 1994 and 1996, import requirements in 1998 are estimated at 139 000 tonnes of cereal equivalent. Commercial imports are estimated at 54 000 tonnes, leaving a deficit of 85 000 tonnes of cereals and pulses. Emergency food aid requirements for the most severely affected population groups in 1998 are estimated at some 60 000 tonnes of cereals and pulses. The uncovered deficit is therefore in the order of 25 000 tonnes.

The outflow of unknown quantities of foodstuffs to neighbouring countries (especially Rwanda) as well as the loss of a large part of 1997C season crops due to floods, have led to a great pressure on food availability. Food prices rose from the second half of 1997 up to the end of January 1998, when they started to decline with the start of the bean harvest. However, they remain higher than in the same period last year due to this seasonís reduced output. The high level of prices will further restrict access to food for large sections of the population with insufficient resources, aggravating their nutritional and health status in the coming months.


2.THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC SITUATION

The socio-economic situation in Burundi is still marked by instability in some parts of the country and an economy suffering under an embargo imposed by neighbouring countries, even if it has been eased recently.

Although security is still precarious in some parts of the country, it has improved considerably during the current 1998A season. This has allowed the authorities to close a number of regroupment camps in Bubanza, Muramvy and Karuzi Provinces. People have returned to their farms, and most of them have been able to cultivate crops during the 1998A season, with the assistance of humanitarian organizations. The number of people living in camps has decreased by 14 percent since June 1997. However, out of a total estimated population of 6 200 000 in January 1998, 572 462 displaced people - or 9 percent of the total population - are still living in 250 camps. Table 1 below gives a break-down of this affected population by province:
 

Table 1. Burundi: Estimated number of people living in camps 1/
 
Province  Population of 
the Province
 
Number 
of sites 
Total population
in the sites
 
% of total
population
Bubanza  280 152  68  152 616  54
Bujumbura M.  311 037  12  20 206  6
Bujumbura R.  384 128  37 198  10
Bururi  438 811  64 426  15
Cankuzo  163 331  -
Cibitoke  366 129  15  79 329  22
Gitega  648 011  17  22 004  3
Karuzi  346 508  14  38 563  11
Kayanza  509 588  11  17 211  3
Kirundo  464 684  17  27 852  6
Makamba  264 103  23  36 100  14
Muramvya  505 679  20  28 505  6
Muyinga  442 832  25  26 636  6
Ngozi  555 696  11  17 195  3
Rutana  227 430  2 494  1
Ruyigi  291 881  2 127  1
TOTAL  6 200 000  250  572 462  9
 

Economically, the April 1997 decision of the Regional Sanctions Co-ordination Committee (RSCC) to ease economic sanctions allowed renewed activity in some economic sectors, particularly trade. According to the December 1997 DHA report on the sanctions, trade with the sub-region is steadily recovering and the embargoís effect on the domestic market is abating. The differences in prices between the countries have also encouraged an outflow of some foodstuffs. In particular, a considerable movement of food towards Rwanda has been observed in recent months, especially cassava flour, sugar and beans. On the other hand, unknown quantities are coming in from Tanzania.

To combat the situation of relatively tight supplies, the government took measures in January 1998 to limit exports, which now require prior authorization. In order to counter the food deficit and ensure better access to food, the government also decided to suspend duties and taxes on rice, maize and bean imports, and adopted an agricultural rehabilitation plan, to run until the year 2000, with the aim of achieving sustainable food security in the country.

With regard to other sectors, the production of cash crops such as coffee, tea and cotton will be higher than last year, with projected increases of 35, 25 and 53 percent respectively. This should lead to greater availability of foreign currency for the country, as well as a rise in incomes of farmers.


3.FOOD PRODUCTION IN 1998

3.1 1998A season production

3.1.1 Planted areas

The 1998A season has seen a considerable increase in planted areas compared with the 1997A season, owing to the return home of part of the population from camps. As security has been maintained in a large part of the country, about 100 000 people living in regroupment camps and 35 689 returnees, mostly from Tanzania, have been able to return home and farm their plots. Even in Cibitoke, Bubanza and Bujumbura-Rural Provinces, where unrest still continues, most of the people have had access to their farms.

However, this increase in planted area was restricted by the poor availability of inputs and a monthís delay in the onset of the rains. Donations of seed and hoes by humanitarian organizations benefited only the population living in camps and with access to land who were able to plant a crop this season. The quantities distributed for 1998A season were 1 441 tonnes of bean seed, 1 433 kg of vegetable seed and 129 260 hoes.

3.1.2 Yields

The rainy season began one month late, in mid-October instead of September, but throughout the whole season rainfall was far in excess of normal in all regions of the country, except Imbo and Mumirwa. These heavy rains were also responsible for the decline in yields of 1997C season crops, which were harvested in September/October. Production of that season was estimated to be well below average due to floods at harvest time.

The combined effects of excessive rainfall and the proliferation of diseases during the 1998A season led to lower yields for some crops. The widespread shortage of pesticides due to the embargo exacerbated the situation, especially in the case of potatoes. The bean, potato and maize crops suffered the most significant decreases in yields, whereas tubers (cassava, sweet potato and yam) and bananas benefited from the abundant precipitation. These rains were also beneficial for the Bugesera and Moso regions, which had suffered a prolonged dry spell in 1997A season.

3.1.3 1998A season production

Although the security situation in 1998A season was better than in 1997A season, the effects of adverse weather conditions prevented an increase in production. Total food production shows a 2 percent fall on the revised estimate for 1997A season, and a 20 percent decrease on the pre-crisis A season average (1988-1993). With the exception of root and tuber crops which rose by 4 percent, all other crops suffered declines: 16 percent for pulses, 13 percent for cereals, and 1 percent for bananas.
 

Table 2. Burundi: Estimated food production in 1998A season by crop (Ď000 tonnes)
 
Season Commodity  Average
1988-93
 
1998A  1997A  % Variation
/97A
 
% Variation 
/88-93
Cereals  138  90  103  - 13  - 35
Pulses  181  87  104  - 16  - 52
Roots and tubers  542  488  471  + 4  - 10
Bananas and plantains  569  477  482  - 1  - 16
TOTAL  1 430  1 142  1 160  - 2  - 20

3.2 Prospects for 1998 B and C seasons

Output of the 1998B season foodcrops, which are being planted now, will depend on security and weather conditions, as well as input availability.

The 1998B season will see an increase in planted area following the return home of population from regroupment camps and from outside the country. On the other hand, yields are likely to suffer from a reduction in the availability of fertilizer and quality seed. Taking account of these factors, and assuming unchanged security conditions and favourable weather during the first half of the year, 1998B season production should be similar to that of the 1997B season (1 775 000 tonnes).

The output of the C season represents some 17 percent of the annual food production, and generally provides the seed for the A season. Assuming normal rainfall during 1998C season, production should recover from the low level of 1997, which was well below the pre-crisis average. The mission forecasts C season food production at about 670 000 tonnes, which would be 3 percent below normal.

3.3 Total 1998 food production

Total food production in 1998 is provisionally forecast as 3.59 million tonnes. This is 13 percent more than the previous year but still 9 percent less than the 1988-1993 average. Pulses (particularly beans) and cereals will suffer the sharpest falls - 27 and 10 percent respectively as against the 1988-1993 average - as a result of excessive rainfall in A season and the shortage of inputs for B season. On the other hand, bananas and tubers have benefited from husbandry provided by people returning to their land, as well as the heavy A season rainfall.
 
Table 3. Burundi: 1998 food production, by season and crop (Ď000 tonnes)
 
Season  Average production  Prod. 1997  Production 1998  98 as % of average  98 as % of 1997
Commodity  1988 - 1993  98A  98B*  98C*  Total  88 - 93 
Cereals  322  292  90  183  18  291  90  100
Pulses  404  298  87  186  23  296  73  99
Roots and tubers  1 510  1 296  488  744  227  1 459  97  113
Bananas and plantains  1 707  1 297  477  662  402  1 541  90  119
TOTAL  3 943  3 183  1 142  1 775  670  3 587  91  113

* Forecast.
 

Table 4 : Foodcrop production 1998A season(tonnes)
 
Cibitoke  Bubanza  Kayanza  Ngozi  Kirundo  Muyinga  Karuzi  Gitega  Muramvya  Bururi  Makamba  Rutana  Ruyigi  Cankuso  Buj Rurale  Total  % of 1997A
Maize  4 396  2 612  8 264  10 771  2 712  4 838  2 726  8 188  14 987  16 039  8 063  1 125  277  1 164  3 334  89 496  88
Wheat  222  212  196  630  84
Beans  2 472  1 859  10 209  12 563  3 337  5 522  5 627  9 773  4 530  3 561  4 068  2 987  3 877  4 069  1 229  75 683  82
Peas  793  113  2 364  2 204  1 004  601  1 004  2 392  272  170  85  240  11 251  92
Bananas  39 650  35 056  41 050  57 293  35 180  69 526  13 370  33 578  14 522  21 885  11 007  17 495  28 354  12 715  45 954  476 635  99
Potatoes  1 526  3 221  144  603  3 042  1 030  775  230  249  10 820  77
Sweet potatoes  1 069  1 079  29 739  42 343  19 442  11 825  19 106  49 373  32 305  7 773  2 027  11 772  9 735  8 751  3 681  250 020  107
Taro  2 870  4 235  822  2 110  1 588  1 353  1 278  3 355  2 086  1 141  12 348  774  442  484  3 672  38 558  89
Cassava  17 945  18 841  12 500  14 980  10 810  13 761  9 545  26 330  9 945  11 770  8 710  6 119  4 979  2 759  15 900  184 894  104
Yams  877  2 209  176  98  11  603  3 974  100
TOTAL  69 195  63 795  106 696  145 485  74 073  107 426  53 677  135 801  81 901  63 545  47 181  40 522  47 664  30 387  74 613  1 141 961  98
 
 


4.REGIONAL ANALYSIS

4.1 Bubanza

The improved security situation encouraged people to return to their holdings and provided those remaining in the resettlement camps with greater access to land, which resulted in a much larger area being planted than in the 1997A season. Humanitarian agencies distributed bean and vegetable seeds and hoes to the affected populations but fertilizer and pesticides were not available. The poor weather conditions (delayed onset then excessive rains) and diseases on plantains (representing 60 percent of the banana/plantain crop in the province of Bubanza) and taro caused a slight drop in estimated food production during the 1998A season.

Food prices have increased since January 1997 because of high demand, notably in Bujumbura.

The food and nutritional situation is worrying, particularly in the communes of Musigati, Rugazi and Bubanza, and for the people who have recently returned from the forest areas. The number of reported malnutrition cases has been increasing since July, which is also a result of the populationís improved access to nutritional centres.

4.2 Bujumbura-Rural

There has been persistent unrest in the communes of Muhuta, Kabezi, Kanyosha, Mutambu and Isale, which has sometimes resulted in population displacement to other areas.

The planted area during this season has been very close to the reduced level of 1997A. There has been a serious shortage of potato seed and fertilizer, while the high price of dithane (3 200 FBu/Kg) has discouraged its use. As elsewhere, the rains were late and then excessive, leading to a high incidence of diseases, particularly potato bacterial disease and blight. The harvest prospects are good for maize and pea in Mugamba and for beans in Mumirwa, but less favourable for potatoes.

Market prices remain higher than in 1997A season.

The state of health and nutrition declined during the last quarter of 1997, especially in the communes of Muhuta, Bugarama, Mubimbi and Kanyosha. Severe acute malnutrition, with oedemas associated with diarrhoeal diseases, has caused high levels of mortality.

4.3 Bururi

The security situation has worsened since April 1997 in the communes of Buyengero, Burambi and Rumonge. It has remained relatively good in the other communes of the province.

Humanitarian agencies have provided the affected populations with bean and vegetable seeds and hoes. There has been a fall in potato planting as compared to 1997A season because of a shortage of potato seeds. The first rains were a month late and then extremely heavy, affecting potato, maize and bean yields. Harvest prospects for 1998A are unfavourable and production is projected to be some 12 percent below 1997A.

Prices have escalated since January 1997, with beans selling at 320 FBu/kg in January 1998 against 250 FBu in January 1997, and an average banana bunch costing 1000 FBu against 300 Fbu.

The state of health and nutrition among the resettled and displaced populations is a cause for concern.

4.4 Cankuzo

This province, which has not seen any troubles since the events of October 1993, has just received some 875 returnees from Tanzania, with support from the UNHCR.

Agricultural inputs were made available for 1998A season and NGO support in seed propagation (potato) helped raise the planted area. The late and then excessive rains have damaged the 1998A crops, particularly the bean crop.

Trans-border trade with Tanzania has caused some food prices (bananas) to rise.

The provincial medical authorities consider the state of health and nutrition to be normal, though there are some localized cases of malnutrition.

4.5 Cibitoke

The security situation has improved considerably since the 1997A season, although continuing unrest is reported in the communes of Mabayi (Buhoro district), Buganda (part of Mumirwa) and Murwi (Buhindo district). Many displaced and dispersed persons have returned to their holdings in those communes not experiencing conflict.

The restored security in much of the province coupled with the seeds and farm implements distributed to the affected populations by the humanitarian agencies have resulted in a slight increase in food production during the 1998A season.

There has been a general improvement in the nutritional situation in the past months following the improvement of security, access to seeds and attendance at Nutrition Centres.

4.6 Gitega

Stable security in all the communes of the province encouraged many dispersed people and refugees to return at the beginning of the 1998A season to their communes.

The affected populations were provided with bean and vegetable seeds and farm implements (4500 hoes) by humanitarian agencies. The late and then excessive rains from mid-October 1997 caused flooding in the marshland areas. Expected output for 1998A will be slightly down from 1997A, following reports of low yields of pulses (beans), taro and potato.

4.7 Karuzi

The security situation stabilized throughout the province in 1997, enabling some 65 percent of the camp population to return to their farms. Even those remaining in the camps have greater access to their land. The camp inhabitants received bean and vegetable seeds and hoes from humanitarian agencies.

Weather conditions were poor for 1998A crops, particularly beans and potatoes. The late and then excessive rains caused crop damage, particularly in the marshlands and on pulses on the hillsides.

The province of Karuzi has suffered heavy livestock losses. A herd restocking programme has just been launched with FAO and UNDP support. Five fish ponds have also been rehabilitated.

The drop in bean output and the high external demand for food commodities have driven up prices: 1kg of beans cost 130 FBu in January 1997 but 250 FBu in January 1998.

The number of malnutrition cases reported in Nutrition Centres, as well as the associated mortality rate increased in September 1997 and subsequently in December-January 1998. Most of these cases come from the north of the province affected by insecurity, but the number of cases coming from the south (where there were no camps) has increased recently. This leads to the assumption that malnutrition is increasing throughout the population and is not limited to people living in camps.

4.8 Kayanza

The improved security situation throughout the province, except for areas close to Kibira (Muruta, Matongo and Kabarore), enabled some 100 000 persons to return to their holdings in Butanganzwa and Rango last November.

The planted area is about 15 percent larger than in 1997A, particularly for tide-over crops (sweet potato, cassava). FAO and other aid agencies have provided support for seed multiplication for distribution to the vulnerable population groups. The rains were late and then very heavy, causing late planting and high parasitic infestation. Harvests will be down 20 percent from last year because of this combination of heavy rainfall and diseases.

Prices have soared because of high external demand, particularly from neighbouring Rwanda. Bean prices, for example, rose from 130 to 300 FBu/kg between January 1997 and January 1998, rice from 220 to 400 Fbu and cassava flour from 90 to 180 Fbu.

The emergence of long-hidden people from forests has led to increased visibility of malnourished adults and children at nutrition centres.

4.9 Kirundo

This province is one of the key bean, sorghum and maize growing areas of the country. Satisfactory security conditions have facilitated farming and enabled the displaced populations in the camps to plant a larger area. Between April and September 1997, 10 000 persons were repatriated from Rwanda, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The 1998A planted area is much larger than in 1997A when there was a pronounced drought. Compared to the previous two years, the rains arrived on time, but were then very heavy and lasted until January, causing flooding in the marshlands, destroying the bean crop and delaying the planting of rice seedlings. The communes of Busoni, Gitobe, Bwambarangwe and Ntega were particularly hard hit. In the communes of Kirundu and Ntega, banana groves were also affected by the violent winds that preceded the first rains. The overall harvest for the 1998A season is estimated to be 10 percent higher than 1997A.

Herd restocking has progressed well at farm level.

As regards the market, the bean price has fallen from 300 FBu in December to 180 FBu in February 1998, but it is still higher than the 160 Fbu of 1997A.

The state of health and nutrition is not alarming although there are isolated instances of malnutrition amongst the displaced and returnee population.

4.10 Makamba

The security situation is good except in the commune of Nyanza Lac and part of the commune of Vugizo. Some 50 percent of the population have been able to plant crops for the 1998A season.

Agricultural inputs have been in short supply, particularly potato sets and dithane. Also, the heavy rains of November and December damaged the bean, potato and maize crops, and harvests for season 1998A will be 3 percent down from 1997A.

Food prices in January 1998 had increased sharply (threefold for some food items) from the level in January 1997.

The state of health and nutrition is clearly deteriorating among the affected population, with an upsurge in bacillary dysentery (in Nyanza Lac and Vugizo) and typhus (in Vugizo).

4.11 Muramvya

Despite isolated security problems in the communes bordering Kibira forest (Bukeye and Muramvya), security in the province of Muramvya has improved considerably since 1997A. This has enabled the regrouped populations to return to their holdings and the displaced populations to gain easier access to their land. The affected population has received inputs from humanitarian agencies. Agricultural activities were affected by adverse weather conditions - the rains were one month late, then excessive in October and November, and continuing until February 1998. This excessive rainfall damaged potato, pulses and maize. Output in 1998A will be about 4 percent lower than in 1997A.

Food prices are very high, beans now costing 320 FBu/kg against 220 FBu/kg in January 1997, mainly due to strong external demand.

The nutritional situation in the province is worrying. An anthropometric study conducted in November 1997 in the south of the province (the area least affected by the crisis and without any camps) revealed a high rate of severe malnutrition.

4.12 Muyinga

The security situation has remained good throughout the 1998A growing season. Agricultural activities were carried out normally. The displaced persons in the camps were able to cultivate their own fields and received assistance from humanitarian agencies.

There was a general shortage of inputs - particularly potato and bean seeds. The planted area is 5 percent high than in 1997A, essentially because of the improved security situation. The rains started in September and were then followed by a short drought that lasted until early October. They were then widespread and heavy, causing flooding and significant damage to the bean crop in Giteranyi and Gasorwe. Harvests of the 1998A season are about 8 percent down.

Market prices generally fell from December to January 1998, but are still higher than in January 1997.

The state of health and nutrition is normal except for isolated cases of dysentery and kwashiorkor in some camps for displaced persons.

4.13 Ngozi

Security conditions have been good this season throughout the province, which has enabled farmers to resume their agricultural activities.

The planted area is higher than in 1997A, but has nevertheless been restricted by the shortage of seeds (particularly potato). There was widespread rainfall in mid-October followed by excessive rains and violent winds, hail and flooding which caused serious damage in marshland areas. The bean (-30 percent) and maize (-20 percent) crops and rice nurseries were hit particularly hard by the flooding. Harvests are some 20 percent down from 1997A.

Commodity prices are high, with beans selling at 300 FBu/kg against 200 FBu in 1997A, banana at 1500 FBu a bunch against 800 FBu and sweet potato at 80 Fbu/kg against 60 Fbu.

The state of health and nutrition is relatively stable, although precarious.

4.14 Rutana

The security situation was satisfactory in the 1998A season and farmers were able to work their land normally.

The planted area in 1998A was up slightly from 1997A, although restricted by a shortage of inputs. The harvest prospects for 1998A are better than 1997A except for potato (bacterial blight).

The late arrival of the rains disrupted the seasonal schedule, but far more disruptive was their subsequent intensity which damaged beans, potatoes and maize, particularly in the communes of Buyogoma (Rutana, Musongati, Mpinga-Kayove and Gitanga). In contrast, the region of Mosso was not affected by the excessive rainfall on account of its sandier soils.

Food prices were significantly higher in January 1998 than in the previous year.

The state of health and nutrition appears to be stable.

4.15 Ruyigi

The security situation was satisfactory throughout the province for the whole of 1997, as evidenced by the influx of some 38,000 returnees from February 1997 and the gradual return of displaced persons to their hillside homes.

The climatic and phytosanitary conditions in season 1998A have been unfavourable to healthy plant growth. The late rainfall followed by excessive rains exposed the crops to diseases, with heavy damage to maize from streak virus, to sweet potato from African army worm and banana from Panama disease. The planted area was much larger than in 1997A on account of the repatriated and returning displaced people, but output is expected to be some 4 percent down because of disease and excessive rainfall.

The high outflow of staple food commodities (bean, banana, sweet potato, maize, dry cassava and groundnut) to other provinces and even to neighbouring countries has caused market prices to escalate: banana, taro and potato prices have doubled since January 1997.
 


5. FOOD SUPPLY/DEMAND SITUATION

5.1 Food prices and availability

Food prices rose sharply during the second half of 1997, and their January 1998 level was much higher than in January 1997. Potato prices saw a particularly steep hike, especially in the Bujumbura central market, rising from 122 FBu/kg in January 1997 to 265 FBu/kg in January 1998óa 117 percent increase. These increases are well above the 1997 national inflation rate, estimated at 31 percent. Prices vary considerably from one prefecture to another reflecting a lack of market integration, aggravated by persistent insecurity in several parts of the country, as well as the poor state of roads as a result of the heavy rainfall this season. The price chart below gives a clear picture of these exceptional price rises from last year and since July 1996, before the embargo. A slight drop in food prices was recorded at the end of January 1998 following the A season harvest, but this decrease is expected to be short-lived.

The current high level of prices is the result of various factors: high demand from neighbouring countries, poor harvests in the last two seasons (1997C and 1998A), and low levels of imports associated with the economic embargo.

Food supplies became insufficient in the second half of 1997, despite an improvement in production of the B season, harvested in July 1997. This situation was the a result of significant food exports to neighbouring countries, especially Rwanda, stimulated by the devaluation of the Burundi franc.

Production of the secondary 1997C season, harvested in September/October, was sharply reduced by torrential rain, which meant a longer lean period. The exceptional rainfall also adversely affected the output of the 1998A season bean and maize crops, the seasonís main crops, exacerbating an already difficult food supply situation.

Although the economic embargo has been eased, the situation is still far from normal, and all economic sectors have suffered disruption.

In a move to counter rising food prices, the government has recently imposed a requirement of prior authorization for rice, maize, bean, cassava and cassava flour exports, and has suspended import duties on these items.

With the escalation in prices, purchasing an adequate amount of foodstuffs is now beyond the reach of the majority of the population. This has aggravated a food situation that has been precarious since 1994, owing to the combined effects of the political crisis, the embargo and adverse weather conditions. The most vulnerable groups include: (i) people recently returned to their farms (from regroupment camps, from other countries, and from the forest), who were unable to cultivate crops in the 1998A season; (ii) people affected by insecurity, especially in the Mumirwa region, comprising Bubanza, Cibitoke, Bururi and Bujumbura-Rural; (iii) people still living in camps and without access to land; (iv) the poorest groups, because of insufficient resources and the lack of employment opportunities. The nutritional situation of these groups continues to give cause for concern.
 

Undisplayed Graphic

5.2 Food supply and demand balance: January-December 1998

Table 5 shows the projected 1998 supply and demand situation for cereals, pulses, roots, tubers and bananas. It is provisional, and will depend on B and C season harvests, which will take place, respectively, in June and September 1998.

Total food production in 1998 is estimated at 3 587 000 tonnes - 91 percent of the 1988-1993 annual average production - and comprises 291 000 tonnes of cereals, 296 000 tonnes of pulses, 1 459 000 tonnes of roots and tubers, and 1 541 000 tonnes of bananas.

As a result of poor harvests in previous seasons, insecurity and the embargo, stocks within the country are estimated to be negligible. Stocks of food aid have are also severely depleted, following the extensive damage to infrastructure by flooding in Tanzania and Kenya, causing transport difficulties which have kept imports to a minimum.

Food requirements have been assessed on the basis of a population of 6 283 700 in mid-1998 and an average per caput consumption of 47 kg of cereals, 52 kg of pulses, 230 kg of roots and tubers, and 267 kg of bananas and plantains. Cereal and pulse requirements are based on the apparent consumption for the 1994-1996 period and are some 6 percent lower than pre-crisis consumption.

Estimates of post-harvest losses, animal feed, seed and other uses are based on calculations made by FAO projects in the country. In the case of pulses and cereals, they amount to 18 and 13 percent respectively of total production. In the case of roots and tubers and bananas, about 10 percent of total production is used for non-food purposes.

The food shortfall, as derived from the supply and demand balance, amounts to 118 000 tonnes of cereals and pulses, 132 000 tonnes of roots and tubers, and 154 000 tonnes of bananas and plantains. In estimating food aid requirements, the root and tuber deficit has been converted into cereals, since roots and tubers are not available as food aid; in addition they are expensive to import as they are bulky and perishable in their raw form. Over two-thirds of the bananas produced are consumed as banana beer, and it is therefore hard to replace them by cereals in household food baskets. However, the small percentage of bananas consumed cooked or as a fruit - with a higher calorie content - has been converted into cereal equivalent. In converting root, tuber and banana deficits, the mission felt it unlikely that consumers would fully substitute them with cereals, but that other foods would be used to offset part of the shortfall. The mission therefore converted only 50 percent of the deficit into the cereal equivalent, which is then taken into account when estimating food aid requirements.

As a result of government measures on imports (the elimination of import duties), it is anticipated that food imports will be higher than in 1997 even though the devaluation will limit effective demand. Commercial imports have been estimated at 50 000 tonnes of cereals and pulses, or just below the pre-embargo level. Small amounts of tubers and bananas have also been taken into account.

After commercial imports, total food aid requirements for 1998 amount to 85 000 tonnes of cereal equivalent, 60 000 tonnes of which will be met by emergency food aid to be distributed by WFP to the most vulnerable sections of the population. Over half of this food aid will be distributed during the second half of the year, in view of the difficulties in transporting food by road from Tanzania. After this contribution, there is still a shortfall of 25 000 tonnes of cereals and pulses for 1998. It should be stressed that these figures assume satisfactory production in 1998 B and C seasons, and that the deficit could be higher if security conditions deteriorate or weather conditions are adverse during these two seasons.
 

Table 5 Burundi: Food Balance January-December 1998 
Population 1/07/98: 6 283 700
 
Cereals 
& Pulses
 
Roots 
& tubers
 
Bananas 
& plantains
DOMESTIC AVAILABILITY - 1998  587  1 459  1 541
Production A  177  488  477
Production B (forecast)  369  744  662
Production C (forecast)  41  227  402
TOTAL UTILIZATION  705  1 591  1 580
Food use  622  1 445  1 426
Seed, feed and other uses  83  146  154
IMPORT REQUIREMENTS  118  132  39
In cereals equivalent  118  20  1
Commercial imports  50  1
Food aid requirement  68  17  -
Food aid grand total  85 
of which pledged  60 
uncovered deficit  25 
 

5.3 Emergency Food Assistance

WFP remains the most important supplier of food assistance to Burundi. Food assistance is currently provided through several programmes including: emergency relief for people displaced by conflict and insecurity; return packages for displaced persons and refugees who are returning to their homes; nutritional programmes for malnourished and vulnerable groups; as well as rehabilitation programmes through food for work.

During the second half of 1997, the bulk of WFP assistance was targeted to regrouped people, many with little or no access to land, whose numbers climbed as high as 280 000 during the period. These caseloads were provided assistance where they were found to have exhausted coping mechanisms and, therefore, required food assistance for survival. Food needs were determined based on household food economy surveys, regularly undertaken by specialized WFP assessment teams using Save the Children Fund (SCF) methodology.

Between September 1997 and January1998, the regroupement sites in Kayanza, Muramvya and Karuzi were largely dismantled. WFP provided resettlement packages of 90 days to those resettling in Kayanza and Muramvya and is planning to commence distribution of packages in Karuzi in the near future. Although there were no longer refugees in Burundi, during the second half of 1997 WFP provided assistance to refugees repatriating from Tanzania, DRC, and Rwanda, estimated by UNHCR at 35 000 people, in the form of transit rations and repatriation packages.

With a view to redressing malnutrition in many parts of the country, WFP continued to support NGOs, under the co-ordination of UNICEF, in providing assistance for supplementary and therapeutic feeding through health centres throughout the country to an average of 25 000 persons, mostly children, per month. It also supported 8 000 vulnerable people per month throughout the country through local partners and institutions.

Although the security conditions dictated that the majority of WFP assistance was channelled through emergency programmes, WFP also supported rehabilitation activities in secure areas through food-for-work programmes promoting rural rehabilitation and income generating activities to a monthly average of 18 000 direct beneficiaries, most of whom were women. Furthermore, in an attempt to maximize agricultural production, WFP worked in close collaboration with FAO on a nation-wide seeds distribution programme, with WFP providing logistical support, distribution teams, and seeds protection rations. Between July and December 1997, almost 900 tonnes of bean seed were distributed by WFP, together with the 15 day seed protection ration. In February 1998, this programme is on-going with distributions being undertaken in six provinces in the country.

The table below provides the tonnage dispatched for WFP programmes throughout the country between July and December 1997:
 

Table 7: Burundi: WFP programme
 
Commodity  Tonnage
Cereals  11 818
Pulses  4 782
Oil  1 140
CSB  1 178
Salt  185
Sugar  784
DSM  106
TOTAL  19 993
 

Based on the above, the provision of assistance for WFP programmes amounted to an average of 3 300 tonnes of food per month during the latter half of 1997. Distributions remained below projected needs during this period, mostly due to limited access in certain areas as a consequence of insecurity.

WFPís programme in 1998 is expected to be similar to that of 1997 with assistance based on regular and continuing assessment of needs at the household level. In particular, a large proportion of assistance during the first half of 1998 is likely to be directed toward regrouped/stricken people (an estimated 100 000 needy people requiring assistance), mostly based in Bubanza and Cibitoke and other victims of conflict such as people displaced by fighting (estimated at 75 000). WFP is also prepared to respond with repatriation packages for refugees returning from Tanzania and for other regrouped people returning to their homes.

It is expected that Burundians will be able to rely on coping mechanisms to combat the negative effects of the reduced production from the Season A harvest (2 percent lower than 1997 and 20 percent lower than the 1998/1993 average). These include the production of cash crops (tea, coffee, peanuts, fruits and vegetables), small animal husbandry and wage labour. Nonetheless, WFP will continue to monitor the effects of reduced production, as the lean season evolves, through its assessments and/or contacts with Government, NGOs and other UN agencies. In cases where WFP is alerted to potential stress and exhausted coping mechanisms, needs assessments will be undertaken to affected populations and, where they are found to have exhausted coping mechanisms and require food assistance for survival, emergency assistance will be provided from resources made available under the regional emergency operation.

The 1998 programme levels (for cereals and pulses) are foreseen at approximately 60 000 tonnes for the year. Unfortunately, these levels have had to be reduced dramatically to less than 2 000 tonnes per month until end-February 1998 in the face of serious logistics problems outlined below. While it is hoped that increased deliveries will recommence from mid-March, it is not expected that Burundi will receive more than 3 000 tonnes per month in the following four months. Reduced levels of resources available within Burundi will necessitate a prioritization of WFP assistance in order to target the most needy. However, it is hoped that from July 1998, food deliveries can match anticipated needs.

5.4 Logistics

WFPís logistics operation in Burundi is implemented as part of the regional structure and relies principally on a pipeline originating in Dar-es-Salam. The main supply route for most of 1997 has been through the Isaka to Ngozi axis, given the sporadic nature of barge operations between Kigoma and Bujumbura. Despite the economic embargo still imposed on Burundi, food imports were not restricted. WFP imported an average of 3 000 tons per month with a high of over 4 000 tonnes imported in October.

Unfortunately, recent floods in Tanzania have seriously impaired both rail and road routes from Dar es Salaam and effectively cut off food deliveries to Burundi in December 1997. During January and February, WFP received some 3 000 tonnes from Uganda and Rwanda. This level of deliveries is expected to continue during the next four months. Of this amount 2 000 tonnes are expected through the north (Kampala-Kigali) and 1 000 tonnes from the south (Isaka/Tanzania or Mpulungu/Zambia). While it is hoped that from July 1998 food deliveries can reach 5 000 tonnes per month, this remains dependent on the uncertain evolution of weather conditions in Tanzania and the region as a whole which will affect logistics capacity.

5.4 Nutritional situation

Malnutrition has been aggravated by the socio-political crisis that has affected the country since October 1993.

The number of patients at the Nutritional Recovery Centres (Centres Nutritionnels Térapeutiques) and Health and Nutrition Centres (Centres Nutritionnels et Sanitaires) affected by kwashiorkor and marasmus is rising and the level of mortality is high. The high percentage of adults among the malnutrition cases reflects the serious food insecurity situation of some groups of population. Malnutrition is tending to spread among both the camp inhabitants and the population who remained in the hill areas that were not affected by the civil unrest.

The situation does however vary from one region to another. Malnutrition remains at pre-crisis levels in some provinces but is high in the provinces most affected by the fighting. Because of the agricultural calendar, no early improvement can be envisaged in the provinces of Kayanza, Karuzi, Muramvya, Bubanza and Bujumbura-Rural. The lean season from March to May 1998 is likely to be particularly difficult considering the low output levels of the 1998A season.

It is still impossible to gauge the severity of the situation in a reliable manner. The mission had to rely on data gathered from informed sources, including provincial doctors, local government advisers, NGO staff and hospital directors. The analysis of the rate of attendance at Nutritional Centres was also used by the mission to identify the affected population (area of origin of the seriously undernourished) and the evolution of the situation. It is evident that attendance at Nutritional Centres is not only determined by malnutrition itself but also by ease of access (distance and security) and quality of services offered. The information thus collected has been cross-checked by interviews with individuals and pertinent institutions. The Government of Burundi has not yet carried out a national assessment of malnutrition. However, everything points to a worsening of the nutritional situation in the country.
 
 
 

This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required. 
Abdur Rashid 
Ismat Fahmi
Chief, GIEWS FAO 
Section Chief, OSA/2,, WFP
Telex 610181 FAO I 
Telex: 626675 WFP 1
Fax: 0039-6-5705-4495 
Fax: 0039-6-6513-2839
E-mail:GIEWS1@FAO.ORG 
E-Mail: Ismat.Fahmi@WFP.ORG

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