An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Rwanda from 27 November to 11 December to estimate the outcome of the 1996-A crop and the food aid requirements for the first six months of 1996. In Kigali, the Mission met national officials responsible for monitoring food production, notably at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. Team members also met officials from United Nations agencies and from other international organisations. Two weeks before the arri val of the Mission a preliminary survey had been undertaken in all ten prefectures, resulting in a comprehensive summary of current crop progress in each prefecture which served as the Mission's starting point. In addition, the Mission visited six prefectures, including those most affected by the crisis.

The 1996-A season is characterised by a significant increase of 14 percent of the area under cultivation, compared to season 1995-A, due to an increase of the rural population since the closing of camps for internally displaced persons and their su bsequent resettlement on farms. Moreover, many old-caseload and some new-caseload refugees have returned to cultivate. The international community continued its assistance in kind in the form of seeds and tools.

Estimated yields are generally better than for the 1995-A season due to adequate and well-distributed rainfall (except in the north of Byumba, the region of Bugesera in Kigali-Rural, and some dry pockets in Butare) and the low incidence of pests. A s long as the rains continue normally till the end of December good yields can be expected in the north (Gisenyi, Ruhengeri and Byumba) for beans, maize, wheat and (with the exception of Byumba) potatoes. The prefectures of Kibungo and Cyangugu wil l continue to have high banana yields while manioc yields look promising in the prefectures of Kigali-Rural, Gitarama, Byumba and Kibungo. The Mission estimates the aggregate food production at 1.78 million tons, against 1.43 million tons in season 1995-A, a 24 percent increase. This production includes some 73 000 tons of cereals, 117 000 tons of pulses, 1.06 million tons of banana and plantain, 536 000 tons of roots and tubers. Nevertheless, total production represents only 82 percent of t he average for 1989-1993.

Refugees continue to return to Rwanda from the surrounding countries after the civil war in 1994. The flow has slowed during the second half of 1995 but continues at a mean monthly rate of around 17 500 people. They return to their prefectures of o rigin where authorities allocate them land for cultivation.

If 20 percent of the refugees currently in the surrounding countries return to Rwanda in the first half of 1996, the mean Rwandan population for that period will be 6.31 million, resulting in a food import requirement of 51 000 tons of cereals, 32 000 tons of pulses, 28 000 tons of banana and plantain, and 88 000 tons of roots and tubers. After converting the shortfall of the non-tradeable foodstuffs (bananas and plantains, roots and tubers) into cereal equivalents, and taking into account e stimates of commercial imports and programmed aid, this still leaves deficits of 71 000 tons of cereals and 26 000 tons of pulses to be met by emergency food aid. These figures include 16 000 tons of food aid in stock in June 1996.

The food supply situation remains tenuous in parts of Cyangugu, Butare, Gikongoro and Kibungo all of which still suffer from inadequate agricultural manpower. In most other areas the situation is satisfactory, with markets generally well supplied w ith staples by an efficient private sector. However, low purchasing power in the crippled post-war economy means that many Rwandans cannot afford to feed themselves at market prices, so many still need food aid.

Priorities for the first semester of 1996 remain: (i) helping vulnerable groups through food hand-outs and (ii) food-for-work schemes both to help those without food but able to work and to contribute towards the rehabilitation of infrastructure. I n view of the good output of 1996-A there is an obvious need for careful targeting of food aid in order not to disrupt the recovery of agricultural sector by inducing food dependency. Nonetheless, about one million Rwandans will require some type o f food aid over this period: 526 000 in vulnerable groups, 235 000 indirect beneficiaries in food-for-work schemes, 211 000 returnees and 72 000 recipients of institutional feeding.


In upheavals from 1959 onwards, several waves of refugees fled Rwanda before the troubles of the early and mid-1990s. Many of this "old caseload" have returned since mid-1994. In contrast, those who left as part of the 19 94 exodus are referred to as the "new caseload". Estimates of population with respect to the 1991 census take into account the outflow of the new caseload as well as the partial return of both the old and new caseloads.

UNHCR statistics indicate that during the first ten months of 1995, some 143 000 old-caseload and 75 000 new-caseload Rwandans returned to the country. The old-caseload returnees heavily outnumbered the new-caseload returnees from January to May, b ut from August to October they were in the minority. The great majority of old-caseload returnees came from Uganda, while the new-caseload returnees mostly came from Zaire and Burundi. In September 1995 an estimated 155 000 Rwandan refugees remaine d in Burundi, 930 000 in Zaire and 600 000 in Tanzania.

Great uncertainty surrounds any estimate of the rate at which refugees will return in the first half of 1996. The results of the Cairo conference in November/December suggest a significantly increased inflow. The Mission adopts as its most likely s cenario the repatriation during this period of 20 percent of the remaining new-caseload exiles. This figure represents a jump of an order of magnitude compared to the second half of 1995 but, at a mean of 2 000 returnees daily, corresponds to only one-fifth of the theoretical maximum that UNHCR can accommodate. This base scenario is contrasted with two alternatives: at the one extreme, the persistence of the relatively low repatriation rate of the second half of 1995 and, at the other, the r eturn of 50 percent of the refugees between January and June 1996.

Table 1 provides population estimates by prefecture for the end of March 1996. The population grew at an estimated annual rate of 2.8 percent from the census in 1991 to the beginning of 1994. After taking account of the losses of those who were kil led during the civil war, those who fled abroad as refugees and the gains attributable to refugees who have since returned and the natural growth in the population during 1995, the total population in October 1995 is estimated at 6.1 million. Final ly, the Mission added modest population growth until the middle of the first half of 1996 (at a 2 percent annual growth rate) and assumed that 20 percent of the new caseload refugees will return to Rwanda from surrounding countries. In this scenari o, the March 1996 population equals 6.31 million, compared to 6.16 million if the recent rate holds and 6.58 million if half the new caseload returns during the first half of 1996. The implications of these diverse population estimates on the food balance are discussed below.

Table 1: Estimated population by prefecture ('000s)

Population 1991765780515465730
Population start 1994830845560505790
Number killed150507510025
Number of refugees2242557652189
Number of returnees75200351080
Growth 19959149713
Total population: 1/10/1995540754453370669
Total population: 1/3/1996568787465379694

Table 1 (cont.)

Population 19918506504751 1507707 150
Population start 19949257005151 2508307 750
Number killed5010010012525800
Number of refugees78420942241811 793
Number of returnees2590523050800
Growth 199514772115116
Total population: 1/10/19958362773331 1526896 073
Total population: 1/3/19968533213461 1867146 313

Until April 1995, Rwanda also had thousands of "internally-displaced persons" in camps within the country. The camps were then closed and almost all of these people returned to their prefectures of origin. Current policy allocates returnees without land to hitherto uncultivated farmland or to deserted farmland until the original owner returns. If the owner returns those farming the plot may cultivate and harvest any crops they have planted but must then leave. This policy does not encourage longer-term investments, e.g. in maintenance of coffee or tea crops, but does allow significant production of other crops.


FAO, WFP and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock organised a pre-mission survey of agricultural production in all of Rwanda's ten prefectures. Using FAO-designed questionnaires, three teams interviewed prefects, regional agricultural directors, and farmers chosen randomly in different communes. They also noted the state of the crops they saw en-route. The summary crop data from these preliminary investigations served as the Mission's starting po int. The Mission itself visited most of the prefectures, particularly those hardest hit by the crisis and, in Kigali, Mission team members met officials in Rwandan ministries, UN agencies, and donor agencies following the agricultural and food supp ly situation. All these sources of information contributed to the evaluation by prefecture of the cultivated area, the yields and the production of the major crops for the 1996-A season.

2.1 Areas planted
For most crops, the surface area cultivated during the 1996-A agricultural season greatly exceeds the area cultivated during the 1995-A season. Only the area allocated to bananas and, in some prefectures, manioc and taro has stagnated. At the other extreme, areas of beans, maize, potatoes and sweet potatoes have shown the greatest growth. Three factors explain this notable recovery of agricultural activity:

- stabilisation of rural populations and the gradual return of old-caseload refugees from Uganda and of some new-caseload refugees from Zaire, Tanzania and Burundi.

- growth of the farming population since the closing of the camps for internally displaced persons in April 1995

- improved availability of farming inputs. The supply of seeds has improved due to three successive good harvests, distributions from international donors since 1994, and improved seed multiplication by farmers, co-operatives, NGOs and some govern ment-run seed-multiplication centres (especially for beans, potatoes and sweet potatoes). During the 1996-A season, farmers, particularly vulnerable groups, have benefited from distributions of free seeds (4 004 tons of beans, 264 tons of maize, 43 9 tons of soya beans, 121 tons of peas, 111 tons of wheat, 28 tons of groundnuts and 34 081 tons of various horticultural crops). In addition, 507 tons of fertiliser, 4 tons of dithane pesticide, 3 354 kilogrammes of rhizobium fertiliser, 104 spray ers and 519 224 hoes were also distributed.

The Mission estimates that farmers have cultivated a total of 521 000 hectares during the 1996-A season, 14 percent more than in 1995-A. However, this figure represents only 75 percent of the 1990-A area due to the persistence of very sparse popula tions in the Prefectures of Butare, Kibungo and Kibuye and to security problems in prefectures bordering Zaire and, less importantly, to seed constraints in some areas (particularly for potatoes, soya seeds, peas and groundnuts).

2.2 Yields
Overall rainfall patterns have been good during the 1996-A season. Propitious timing and abundant volume (but without the excessive rains sometimes experienced during 1995-A) have adequately met plant growth needs. The Mission o bserved good crop development, particularly in the northwestern Prefectures of Ruhengeri and Gisenyi where production is almost normal, as well as in the populated parts of other prefectures. However, mention should be made of three areas , Bugeser a in southern Kigali, the northeast portion of Byumba and some pockets of Butare , where the Mission found evidence of plant stress due to drought in crops of beans, maize and groundnuts. This stress was particularly severe in the Communes of Gasho ra and Ngenda in Kigali-Rural Prefecture which were undergoing their third successive week without rain when the Mission visited.

The Mission noted some attacks of defoliating caterpillars in crops of sweet potato, insect infestations and root diseases in bean crops, wilt and weevils in bananas (over a wide area), and mildew on potatoes. However, overall crop health is good. On the other hand, yields will no doubt be adversely affected by the poor quality of seeds from diverse sources on sale in the market, as exemplified by degeneration of maize in Byumba and poor quality seed potato at Gisenyi. In addition, some inpu ts, particularly, dithane and fertiliser, were either very expensive or altogether lacking in some marketplaces.

Productivity during the 1996-A season will generally exceed that of 1995-A, though it will not reach pre-civil war levels. As long as the rains continue normally until the end of December, good yields can be expected in the north (Gisenyi, Ruhenger i, Byumba) for beans, maize, wheat and (except for Byumba) potatoes. The Prefectures of Kibungo and Cyangugu continue to record high banana yields while manioc does well in the Prefectures of Kigali-Rural, Gitarama, Byumba and Kibungo.

2.3 Food production 1996-A
Total food production for 1996-A is estimated at 1.78 million tons, against 1.44 million tons for 1995-A, an increase of 24 percent. However, despite this progressive increase in agricultural output over the last three seasons, the current production level stands only at 82 percent of the season A mean in 1989-93.

Table 2 displays estimates of agricultural production by crop while Table 3 details estimated production by crop and by prefecture for the 1996-A season.

Table 2: Food production for the 1996-A season compared to 1995-A and to the 1989-93 mean ('000 tons)

Beans and peas149142166136
Groundnuts and soya beansNA1218.810.5
Sweet potatoes395364364543
Taro and yamsNA20NA20.9
ROOTS & TUBERS675669647863.9
BANANAS1 3491 3999731 231

Table 2 (cont.)

1993199519961996 as %
of 1995
% of mean
Beans and peas84.872.711415784
Groundnuts and soya beans15.32.431251/ 21
PULSES100.175.11171561/ 80
Sweet potatoes42420229614771
Taro and yams31.18.723.42692/ 90
ROOTS & TUBERS803.1346.7536.41552/ 69
BANANAS9379581 05611090

Notes: NA = data not available
1/ mean 1990-93
2/ mean 1990 1992 1993

2.4 Prospects for the short and medium terms
The 1996-B season should begin in January-February 1996. It appears hazardous to try to predict the outcome, but it seems important to underline several factors that will clearly influence it.

According to a recent FAO assessment, it seems that since the civil war and before the start of the 1996-A season, 77 percent of Rwandan agricultural households had received at least a hoe and some seeds. This positive contribution, combined with t hree successive good harvests suggest that Rwanda's agricultural sector is moving from an emergency condition to a period of short term rehabilitation and hopefully to the reconstruction and rehabilitation phases. The Mission estimates that if the current situation persists and if further crises are avoided (particularly a massive new influx of refugees), the 1996-B season should mark the start of a transitional phase in the course of which distributions of free seeds and other agricultural inputs could be limited to vulnerable groups and to recent returnees who have not yet begun to cultivate.

Table 3: Agricultural production: 1996-A (1000 tons) compared with 1990-A, 1995-A

Soya beans10000100
Sweet potatoes203322291750826
Taro & yams20611504
ROOTS & TUBERS30464032531031340

Table 3 (cont.)

KigaliRuhengeri1996-A1990-A1995-A96/90 (%)96/95 (%)
Soya beans0028125200
Sweet potatoes217029636420281147
Taro & yams1323209115269
ROOTS & TUBERS4613253666934780155
BANANAS197841 0561 39995875110
TOTAL2652691 7832 3401 44276124

Assistance for 1996-B should be directed towards:

- support to seed multiplication activities for main food crops (potato, maize, bean and cassava);

- targeted distribution of agricultural inputs to most vulnerable groups and returning refugees.

A cost recovery approach will be proposed on a case by case basis, according to the diversity of situations and degree of vulnerability of the target population.

FAO's Service for Special Relief Operations (TCOR) assessed minimum needs for the forthcoming 1996 B season (February-July 1996). A detailed report with the assessment of urgent needs prepared by TCOR for the agriculture sector is currently under t echnical review at FAO Headquarters and will be circulated to the donor community in January 1996.

In the short run, although vulnerable groups must continue to receive free food, these distributions should be limited in time and targeted to individuals or groups at risk, giving way to activities with a longer-term perspective as soon as possibl e. In the medium term, it will be necessary to promote activities oriented towards the reconstruction and sustainable development of the agricultural sector. These activities include:

- the use of food-for-work schemes, where appropriate, for infrastructural development in rural areas with reduced economic activity in order to allow farmers to generate income that may be invested in the agricultural sector. These labour-intensi ve schemes may include the rebuilding of roads, bridges and houses and the rehabilitation of rice perimeters and fish farms;

- the conservation and improvement of soil fertility both by a campaign to halt erosion in the highlands of the Prefectures of Kibuye, Gikongoro, Ruhengeri and Byumba and by improving the quality of the soil by incorporation of livestock into farm ing. Reduction of the high stocking rate at Mutara , where there is the possibility of overgrazing , should be encouraged; and

- reinforcement of the government's capacity for agricultural outreach and farmer education, and institutional support for central-government services.


3.1 Marketing and Prices

Rwandans buying food find markets that are generally well supplied with staples but many of them do not have the purchasing power that would allow them to take advantage of this availability. Transport costs are high due to truck losses during the civil war, and this leads to less domestic trade than would otherwise be the case. The shortage is particularly acute for small trucks that can function on dirt surfaces away from the main roads. However, truck fleets from surrounding countries ade quately serve the country's import needs. Moreover, although Rwanda lost many phones during the civil war, traders find the means to exchange information and bargain by phone and, internationally, by fax. The markets appear competitive: for instanc e, there are an estimated 15-20 wholesalers of beans and cereals in Kigali. Thus it seems that markets for major Rwandan foodstuffs operate efficiently, neither facing constraints that compromise food security nor creating food security problems th emselves via collusion.

Throughout the country, those interviewed mentioned higher prices: farmers talked about higher prices for inputs; consumers spoke of higher prices of food. Briefly, the factors at play were: a crippled economy with a much lower GDP due to the civil war in 1994, the loss or export of much of the country's wealth during the civil war, and continuing risk in the post-war period, all of which led to lower purchasing power and pressure on the Rwandan franc. The decision to float the franc in Marc h 1995 allowed its value with respect to the U.S. dollar to fall abruptly by around 50 percent and led to high inflation during the second quarter of 1995. In the market for staple foods, the increased supply due to food aid , or decreased demand , tended to temper prices. The net effect of these various factors has been a realignment of relative prices and inflation.

The spatial distribution of prices for sorghum for the June-November 1995 period follows a pattern determined by the location of the major production zones in the northwest and the harvest in July, leading to a post-harvest north-south price gradie nt largely explicable by costs of transport, loading and unloading, and storage. Like maize and beans, sorghum is high-value commodity but not one much distributed as food aid, and the distribution of its prices shows how the market for a tradeable operates in the absence of food aid. Even commodities with lower unit values (and for which transport costs might have been high enough to render them non-tradeable) display coherent spatial patterns over time. For instance, potatoes, grown mostly at higher altitudes in the northwest consistently show low prices in that region with price increasing with distance to Cyangugu in the extreme southwest and Kibungo in the extreme southeast, again largely in accordance with estimated trading cost s.

Two other price patterns also occurred. Firstly, low unit-value commodities grown throughout the country and for which the cost of trade is particularly high relative to their unit value, display spatial price patterns characterised by considerable variability from month to month. This category includes manioc and bananas. The Mission also found evidence of local gluts of low-value horticultural produce, particularly in Gitarama, also due to a lack of affordable means of taking them to prof itable markets. Secondly, as would be expected, the patterns of maize and beans, the major food aid commodities, show the effects of food aid distributions superimposed on the spatial contribution to price due to the geography of domestic productio n.

Coffee is by far Rwanda's main cash crop. In June 1995 the government increased the price that its coffee parastatal company paid to farmers for their crops, from 120 FRw to 300 FRw per kg. This price increase roughly restored the dollar price of c offee to producers after the approximately 50 percent depreciation of the Rwandan franc following its floating in March 1995. The increase ensures that coffee will continue to provide significant extra agricultural revenue, particularly in Butare, Cyangugu, Gitarama and Kigali Prefectures.

3.2 The food balance
Section II provided details of the 1996-A harvest, a summary of which appears by food group as the first line in the food balance given in Table 4. There follows a discussion of the rest of the table.

After three successive good harvests, the Mission estimates the opening on-farm stocks at one month's supply of cereals (16 500 tons) and a fortnight's supply of pulses (8 000 tons). The period covered by the pulses falls short of that for cereals because January is the month for the larger of the two bean harvests , 60 percent of the annual crop is harvested during season A , and it is expected that farmers will manage their stock levels as a function of the imminence of their replenishment . In addition, food-aid stocks on 1 January 1996 are estimated at 8 500 tons of cereals and 4 500 tons of beans.

On-farm closing stocks are estimated at 10 000 tons of cereals and 7 000 tons of beans. At the end of the second quarter, bean stocks are assumed higher, relative to cereal stocks, than at the beginning of the first quarter because, at the end of J une, farmers will be about to start the season B harvest which yields relatively large quantities of cereals and relatively small quantities of beans, compared to season A. Food aid stocks will have grown slightly over the course of the first half of 1996 as aid agencies gear up to deal with an increased number of anticipated returnees.

Table 4: Food balance sheet: first half of 1996 (1000 tons)

CerealsPulsesBananas Roots & tubers
Production 1996-A731171 056537
Opening stocks 1/2414--
Consumption1221261 052579
Losses and seed needs8233246
Closing stocks 1/1814--
Maize equivalent--330
Commercial imports126--
Programme food aid2---
Emergency food aid7126--

1/ Includes food aid stocks.

The Rwandan diet requires 19 kg of cereals, 20 kg of pulses, 167 kg of bananas and 92 kg of root vegetables per person for a period of six months. In addition, some of the available food is lost, mostly in storage to pests; some is retained as seed ; very little is used as fodder. The negligible use as fodder stems from the decimation of the national livestock herd in 1994. As a percentage of production, losses, seed and fodder together are assumed to account for 11 percent of cereals, 20 per cent of pulses, 3 percent of bananas and 8.5 percent of root crops.

The Rwandan customs have not compiled data on commercial food imports since the civil war. However, official statistics reveal mean annual commercial imports in 1991 and 1992 of approximately 31 000 tons of cereals and cereal products and 1 400 ton s of pulses, corresponding to approximately 15 000 tons and 700 tons for a six-month period respectively. There are several reasons why these figures should be adjusted. Firstly, these official statistics represent minimum estimates of imports: smu ggled goods may greatly increase the totals. From the difference between estimates of consumption and domestic production, a pre-war study infers that 40 670 tons of beans were smuggled into Rwanda in 1983. Official statistics for the early 1980s d o not exceed 5 000 tons of beans annually, or 12.3 percent of the estimated figure. However, secondly, food aid imports since 1994 have dampened demand for beans and other food-aid commodities on the market, many of which would have been previously imported commercially, both officially and unofficially. Thirdly, today's population is about one million less than in 1991-1992, which will also have lowered demand. Taking these factors into account, the Mission estimates the commercial imports of cereals at 12 000 tons of cereals and 5 600 tons of pulses over the first half of 1996.

Emergency food aid needs
This estimated contribution from commercial imports meets only 14 percent of the adjusted import needs for cereals and 16 percent for pulses, leaving shortfalls of 71 300 and 26 400 tons respectively which must be met by food aid. Adopting the hypo theses of lower or higher rates of repatriation of refugees specified in section I leads to emergency aid needs of 60 000 and 90 200 tons of cereals and 23 300 and 31 700 tons of pulses respectively.


This section describes the agricultural and nutritional situation in the six prefectures visited by the Mission. The Mission did not visit the remaining four prefectures: Ruhengeri and Gisenyi (in the northwest), Cyangugu (in the southwest) and Kibungo (in the southeast). In Gisenyi and Ruhengeri, which were little affected by the civil war, the agricultural and nutritional situation is returning to normal. Markets there are well supplied with staples, part icularly with locally-produced potatoes and sorghum imported from Uganda. Security problems in Cyangugu Prefecture, which borders Zaire, prevented the Mission from visiting it, though security has recently been improving. Since June 1995, few refug ees have returned to Kibungo Prefecture. Some 15 000 old-caseload returnees have been definitively settled in the prefecture while another 75 000 are squatting in abandoned farms and houses. Although this insecure tenure does not encourage long-ter m investments, the area under crops has increased since 1995-B. Local authorities are trying to draw up contracts for the squatters which should give more secure tenure for some during 1996-A. Bananas are very important in this region and, as banan a plants continue to yield some fruit without being tended and as trading banana beer to Kigali generates considerable revenue, the food security situation is not worrying.

Butare Prefecture has historically been among the country's largest producers of sweet potatoes, beans, sorghum, groundnuts and manioc. However, it was one of the worst affected by the civil war and the contribution that the prefecture will make to national agricultural production during 1996-A will be well below historical norms. For this reason it is important that Butare Prefecture should continue to benefit from donations of seeds for season 1996-B (particularly for sorghum, sweet potato and rice).

Rainfall in 1996-A has generally been late, irregular and insufficient, in comparison to 1995-A. Although during the Mission's field trips the crops' water needs seemed relatively well met, at the end of the Mission the regional agricultural office r cautioned that limited pockets of drought could seriously compromise the harvest if the rains ended in the next ten days.

In the inhabited rural areas where social stability has returned since the civil war, there has been an increase in the cultivated areas of maize, beans, sweet potato and manioc. However, a return to the former levels of agricultural production has been limited by the late distribution of seeds, lack of purchasing power for scarce inputs, and scarcity of agricultural labour in the communes along the border with Burundi that remain heavily depopulated (and with those who do return consisting mainly of women and children). The most important outcome of the inadequate manpower in the southern parts of the prefecture has been an absence of maintenance of the banana plots and their consequent deterioration. In addition, bean yields will be slightly attenuated by attacks of grasshoppers while sweet potatoes suffer from infestations of defoliating caterpillars.

The nutritional situation remains difficult in some food-deficit communes, particularly for vulnerable groups and recent returnees, due to their reduced purchasing power. CRS and WFP will continue their programmes of targeted assistance for vulnera ble populations, though ICRC is phasing out general food distribution in the south of the prefecture. Food-for-work schemes for 10 000 people focus on the rehabilitation of houses, roads, rice perimeters and fish farms.

Byumba is the prefecture with the second-highest production of sorghum. It was not among the prefectures worst hit by the civil war. Since the end of the civil war it has seen the influx of some 200 000 old-caseload returnees and their cattle, thus suddenly becoming by far the most important cattle-rearing prefecture.

Despite a slow start to the 1996-A season as rains only began at the end of September, the main crops were growing well at the time of the Mission's visit. Low purchasing power has limited purchases of seeds and hence constrained the expansion of t he area cultivated. However, an expansion has taken place, by 20-30 percent for maize, sweet potato and peas, by 30 percent for potatoes, and by 40 percent for beans.

Plant health is good with a few minor attacks of black aphis and bean flies on beans and bacteriosis on potatoes. A lack of dithane insecticide may limit potato yields if there are heavy rains but the greater risk to yield appeared to come from a d rought, the start of which the team observed in the north.

The Mutara area now has a much increased stocking rate of cattle since the return from Uganda of old-caseload refugees with their herds. The increase in numbers has provoked concern about overgrazing and, eventually, erosion.

The food supply situation remains difficult in Byumba Town and in some food-deficit communes (particularly Muhura and Rutare), due to limited purchasing power. About 10 percent of the population will need food aid in the first half of 1996. Of thes e, vulnerable populations will receive hand-outs of free food and others will have access to food-for-work. Assistance to nutrition centres and orphanages is also under way for an expected total population of beneficiaries of approximately 30 000.< P> Gikongoro
Gikongoro is a zone dominated by root-crop production: historically, it has had high per caput production of sweet potato and taro. It is a chronic food-deficit prefecture and, in addition, was among those prefectures worst hit by the civil war. Th e southern part of the prefecture is still insecure and thus under-populated.

In most areas, the early 1996-A rains arrived later than expected and have since been below average. Mid-altitude areas have been spared this misfortune. A local lack of seeds, particularly for potatoes, combined with a delay in distributing free s eed, limited the area planted. However, despite these limitations surface areas under cultivation expanded by 20 percent for pulses, 30 percent for potatoes and 40 percent for sweet potato, relative to 1995-A. Attacks by pests and disease were mino r: greenfly and bean flies on beans; and mosaic on potatoes and also, more severely, on manioc. The Mission observed a deterioration of banana plots on abandoned farms. Farmers found inputs expensive in the marketplace, but the regional agriculture service was selling dithane, chalk and fertiliser at more affordable prices.

The food situation may become acute if food aid is not maintained for vulnerable groups and new returnees. WFP will concentrate on food-for-work schemes for the rehabilitation of swamp roads and on housing construction that benefit some 20 000 peop le. Due to an improvement in overall food security, ICRC is phasing out general food distribution in two southern communes and, due to supply problems, CRS has substantially reduced targeted distributions in seven communes.

Gitarama is a large producer of manioc, sweet potato, taro, beans and banana.

Timely and plentiful rains in the north contrasted with slightly below-average rains in the Mayaga area. Cultivation has been handicapped by a lack of groundnut seeds and stem cuttings of manioc and sweet potato. Nonetheless, the cultivated area ha s significantly increased for maize and beans and, particularly, for vegetables and potatoes. Yields have generally been quite good despite a shortage of fertiliser and insecticides, partly because of few pest problems (in the form of grasshoppers and bean flies). High transport costs have meant that gluts of vegetables have occurred in some areas. Eastern areas of the prefecture still lack sufficient agricultural labour due to depopulation.

The food situation is relatively satisfactory despite food deficits in the communes bordering Zaire. In February 1996, WFP will revise its programme for vulnerable households currently benefiting some 38 000 people, after a complete evaluation of 1 996-A production. Food-for-work projects for housing reconstruction and road repairs will continue for some 35 000 beneficiaries.

Kibuye has historically produced above the national norm for potatoes and peas but below it for most other crops, and has generally been a food-deficit prefecture. It was badly hit by the civil war and, due to continuing security concerns, less tha n 60 percent of the available land was cultivated during 1996-A.

The 1996-A season started slightly late, in early October, but the rains have since been well-spaced and sufficient, resulting in good crop development. The regional agricultural service was able to supply farmers with inputs, except for manioc ste m cuttings and fertiliser for potatoes. However, seeds for beans and soya beans were rare on the market where they were priced out of reach of many farmers. Some communes bordering Zaire remained depopulated: few refugees have returned and these co mmunes undergo sporadic rebel incursions. Despite these problems, the area under crops has increased by about 20 percent for beans and 30 percent for both potatoes and sweet potatoes. Yields should be low-to-medium due to bean fly, weevils and wilt in bananas (many plots of which remain abandoned or poorly maintained), and losses to rats in root crops.

The food supply situation is relatively tight for recent returnees. Supplies of cereals and pulses are lacking, though not roots or tubers. The diet consisted mostly of tubers, bean leaves and vegetables when the Mission visited. ICRC has halted fo od distribution, but WFP is still distributing food to some 5 000 returnees and implementing food-for-work schemes for at least 14 000 beneficiaries.

Rural Kigali
Rural Kigali has historically been a very important producer of beans, sorghum, bananas, groundnuts and manioc. It was one of several prefectures badly hit by the civil war and it is expected that its 1996-A production will not match historical nor ms.

The first rains mostly arrived as expected in mid-September, except in the north where they were slightly late. Thereafter they were ample and regular except in the Bugesera area where production had begun to be adversely affected by a drought that had lasted for 2-3 weeks before the Mission's visit. In particular, this drought hit the communes of Gashhora and Ngenda where the Mission noted wilting of maize, beans and groundnuts. The area of farmland under cultivation was generally greater t han in 1995-A, especially for potatoes, beans and maize. However, a shortage of seeds limited areas sown to groundnuts, soya beans and potatoes; and a shortage of stem cuttings limited sweet potato cultivation. Diseases and pests posed relatively few threats but the Mission noted cases of bean crops attacked by grasshoppers and bean flies and of defoliating caterpillars in crops of sweet potato. In South Bugesera, many old-caseload returnees have settled in abandoned properties. This has le d to a high level of tension but also to a growth in agricultural production. However, as in other parts of the prefecture, many banana plots still remained untended on abandoned farms.

Markets were well stocked with food but significant numbers of people could not afford market prices, so a vulnerable population of approximately 110 000 continued to receive food aid, another 30 000 took part in food-for-work schemes, and 1 000 ac utely malnourished people ate at food kitchens. However, in November, ICRC decided to stop general distribution of food aid in South Bugesera, having judged that food security in the area is satisfactory.


The need for food aid remains clear. Relatively low levels of food stocks (of a month or less) mean that the rural population is dependent on the 1996-A harvest, and even small-scale disruptions can have a negativ e effect on food security. The number of those who attend nutritional centres and benefit from supplementary feeding programmes is increasing and, although this can be partially explained by the increasing opportunities for the beneficiaries to do so, it is also a sign that food availability is still a problem for the poorest strata of the population. The return of several hundred thousand refugees after the 1996-B planting season could quickly deplete food stocks, especially in the poorer a reas in the south of the country. In addition, many undercapitalised rural households still need to repair their houses and to invest in animals and in rehabilitating their coffee and banana plots. In directing their meagre resources towards food t hese investments get neglected, leading to delayed increases in their own food production.

In the first half of 1996, WFP intends to distribute about 30 000 tons of food to some 350 000 beneficiaries. As in the second half of 1995, WFP will concentrate on: assistance to recent returnees and to vulnerable groups and populations at risk, a nd on rehabilitation of infrastructure and the agro-forestry sector. It will implement most of this programme through food-for-work schemes; free food hand-outs will be limited to the most vulnerable groups.

ICRC is currently phasing out the assistance to rural populations and will concentrate on its efforts to supply 25 000 people in detention centres and to support a school feeding programme for secondary schools in four prefectures. The basic food r ation will comprise 12 kilogrammes of cereals, 4 kilogrammes of pulses, 1 kilogramme of vegetable oil and 150 grammes of salt per person per month, totalling some 2 500 tons for the next six months.

Due to difficulties in obtaining food, CRS will be forced to curtail its activities. At present, it can obtain food only for its institutional feeding programme which will provide about 200 tons monthly to some 10 000 beneficiaries.

The European Union buffer stock in Uganda has reached 20 000 tons, and some 1 600 tons are already in Rwanda. It will make this stock available in case of gaps in the food-aid pipeline or emergency situations. The EU has also started to implement f ood-aid projects mainly through NGOs and is currently negotiating with the government the possibility of starting market interventions in order to stabilise bean prices.

The Mission estimates that Rwanda will remain a food-deficit country and that approximately one million people (or 17 percent of the resident population) will be in need of food assistance during the first half of 1996. Table 5 provides a breakdown of food-aid requirements and beneficiaries by prefecture and type. It recommends covering the needs of the most vulnerable part of this population , about 526 000 people. At the same time some 40 000 family members could be employed in food-for-wo rk rehabilitation/development programmes to be carried out in food-deficit areas all over the country. As the situation improves, the numbers of beneficiaries in each locality should be revised and free hand-outs should be converted into food-for-w ork, or phased out.

Table 5: Food aid requirements and beneficiaries by prefecture: first half 1996

Butare50030 000134 50026 250191 250
Byumba2 00020 00053 00030 333105 333
Cyangugu2 50015 00041 0008 75067 250
Gikongoro1 50020 00063 0006 41790 917
Gisenyi50018 00021 50022 16762 167
Gitarama1 50040 00070 5009 333121 333
Kibungo1 50033 0007 00049 00090 500
Kibuye5 00014 00025 00011 08355 083
Kigali1 00035 00098 00026 250160 250
Ruhengeri50010 00012 50021 00044 000
Sub-total16 500235 000526 000210 583988 083
Detention25 000

25 000
Orphans4 000

4 000
PAN project26 000

26 000
Rwanda71 500235 000526 000210 5831 043 083

Table 5 (cont.)

PrefecturesFood aid requirement (tons)
CerealsPulsesVegetable Oil
Butare13 4064 563725
Byumba7 3262 563403
Cyangugu4 6401 669260
Gikongoro6 2932 252351
Gisenyi4 2561 602245
Gitarama8 2433 197485
Kibungo6 1072 430365
Kibuye3 7531 391215
Kigali11 1093 965619
Ruhengeri3 0441 094170
Sub-total68 17724 7263 838
Detention1 500900135
PAN project1 57027384
Rwanda71 39125 9854 071

Furthermore, the Mission suggests that the food needs of returnees who arrive in the country after planting time in the 1996-B season should be covered by emergency food aid. If repatriation picks up as estimated, a mean of 210 000 returnees per mo nth should be assisted until next June.

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