Against this background, an FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Rwanda from 10-21 June 1997 to assess prospects for the second 1997 season crops (season B), to evaluate the food supply and food security situation in the country and to estimate import requirements for the second semester of 1997, including food aid. The Mission was joined by an observer from the United Kingdom Government’s Department for International Development. Prior to the Mission’s arrival, a joint Government of Rwanda/FAO/WFP pre-evaluation survey had been carried out throughout the country, providing a preliminary assessment of the 1997 B crop situation. The survey also included information on the livestock situation, on recommendation of a seminar organized by FAO with Government officials and the donor community. While drawing on the pre-evaluation results, the Mission undertook its own field inspections, talked with farmers and local Government officials, visited local markets and consulted with central Government agencies, international organizations of the UN system, bilateral donors and NGOs. It also examined the results of recent studies on the household food security situation undertaken by members of the donor community in selected prefectures, including the European Union, USAID and the Save the Children Fund/UK.
The Mission’s findings point to an increase in planted area in the 1997 B campaign as compared to the same period last year, but the land under cultivation is still below pre-crisis levels. The expansion of cultivated land has been constrained by a variety of factors, including the late arrival and settlement in their communes of a large part of refugees in relation to season B preparations, land disputes between returnees and current farm occupants, lack of manpower (in part compounded by settlement-related demands on manpower such as house construction) and lack of inputs, notably simple agricultural tools and planting material.
Rains have been late and irregular in large parts (East, South and Centre) and altogether excessive throughout the country, damaging in particular pulses and sweet potatoes. Total crop production is estimated to increase slightly (six percent) vis-à-vis the same season last year. Cereal production is expected to be up by 17 percent, due to the generally good results for sorghum (26 percent higher), banana production is
estimated to increase by 12 percent, while roots and tubers are slightly below 1996 B levels. Production of all crops, except wheat and paddy, are significantly below pre-crisis levels. The most preoccupying finding of the Mission is the expected sharp reduction in the production of pulses - the main source of protein in the diet of the Rwandan people - which is estimated to be 25 percent below last year’s B season. This is all the more alarming in the light of the poor results of the 1997 A season, the principal season for the production of pulses, which this year was 12 percent below 1996 A levels - and 1996 A levels had already been affected by reduced yields due to localized drought. The food situation is most precarious in the prefectures of Kibuye, Gikongoro, Butare, South Kigali (Bugesera region) and certain communes in Gitarama, notably Murama, Masango, Kigoma and Tambwe. These will need both continuing food aid as well as input aid.
Access to food for those relying on purchases for part or all of their consumption needs has become exceedingly difficult, due to soaring prices. Between June 1996 and June 1997, prices of pulses tripled, cassava prices doubled, those of sweet potatoes more than doubled; and sorghum and potato prices increased between 45 and 65 percent. Price increases were lowest for bananas (about 30 percent). While prices will ease with the incoming 1997 B harvest, they are expected to remain well above comparable levels of the preceding year.
Against this background, the Mission estimates food aid requirements (for emergency and non-emergency purposes) for cereals and pulses in the order of 4 000 tons and 72 000 tons, respectively, for the second half of this year. Conversion of root and tuber deficits and of the share of bananas consumed as food (rather than beer) would add another 103 000 tons of cereal equivalent. For the purpose of comparison, total food aid in the first semester of 1997 amounted to some 110 000 tons.
Among the Mission’s recommendations for urgent action are: (i) the immediate launching of an inputs distribution programme covering hoes, seeds and planting material in time for the preparations for the 1998 A season in September this year, as well as the 1998 B season, at an estimated cost of some US$ 16 million; and (ii) the immediate establishment (by September 1997) of an early warning system as a first step to rebuild the currently non-functioning statistics service of the Ministry of Agriculture. Given the huge staple food deficits forecast for the remainder of this year, the Mission also calls for particularly prudent food aid management to meet the dual objectives of preventing farm households from using their seed material for human consumption and avoiding an oversupply of food aid which would discourage planting for the 1998 A season. It also addresses medium- to long-term agriculture sector rehabilitation issues.
The civil strife in the first half of this decade and notably the events in 1994 have left their mark on Rwanda’s agricultural economy. In addition to the tragic loss of life, some two million people were internally displaced or sought exile in neighbouring countries, leaving their fields unattended and rendering institutional agricultural-production infrastructures close to non-functional. The livestock sub-sector was almost totally destroyed: 80 percent of cattle, 90 percent of goats and sheep and 95 percent of pigs, poultry and rabbits were lost. Coffee and tea production dropped to unprecedented levels, and the processing infrastructure was rendered non-functional. The forest sub-sector incurred massive losses: 15 000 hectares were entirely destroyed and 35 000 hectares severely damaged.
Poverty and food insecurity affect the population at large, but are particularly acute in a core group of 12-15 percent of rural households ("vulnerable households"). They are concentrated in the Southwest of the country, i.e. in the prefectures of Kibuye, Gikongoro and Butare, characterized by high altitudes, poor soils and high population density. Protein-energy malnutrition among children under five years of age is estimated at a national average of 30 percent, with an incidence as high as 37 and 64 percent in Gikongoro and Butare, respectively. The national average of acute malnutrition in this age group is around 10 percent.
Current Government policies seek to establish a favourable macro-economic
framework, increase productivity in all economic sectors, restore the management
capacities of the public and private sectors, improve the situation of
the vulnerable population, and consolidate the climate of security, peace
and justice. In the area of agriculture and food security, the priorities
are: (i) intensification of production through increased use of inputs;
(ii) regional specialization; (iii) improvement of professional cadres;
(iv) introduction of innovations for diversification; (v) increased investment
for water management; and (vi) the integration of agriculture in the market
These massive returns, together with the natural population growth rate of three percent per year, increased the country’s population from 6.3 million in June 1996 to 7.9 million in June this year - an increase of 1.6 million people or 25 percent in one year; in the second semester, population growth will break the 8-million mark (Table 1). Eighty percent of these returns occurred in the months of November (mainly from DRC) and December 1996 (predominantly from Tanzania). At the time of last year’s FAO/WFP Season B Mission in June, developments of such a scale appeared totally out of question.
Table 1: Population Dynamics January 1996-December 1997
|Date||Natural Growth||Returnees||Total Population|
|1 January 1996||-||-||6 193 000|
|31 March 1996||46 448||42 575||6 282 023|
|30 June 1996||47 115||12 232||6 341 370|
|30 September 1996||47 560||69 363||6 458 293|
|31 December 1996||48 437||1 175 412||7 682 142|
|31 March 1997||57 616||82 780||7 822 538|
|30 June 1997||58 669||98 284||7 979 491|
|30 September 1997||59 846||17 142||8 056 479|
|31 December 1997||60 424||17 142||8 134 045|
1. January 1996 population: official Government estimate. Source: République Rwandaise - Position nationale sur la sécurité alimentaire;Document présenté à l'occasion du Sommet Mondiale de l'Alimentation, Rome 13-17 Novembre; Kigali, Septembre 1996
2. Natural population growth rate: 3 percent p.a. or 0,75 percent per Quarter
3. Returnees: January 1996-May 1997: actual figures as recorded by UNHCR; June-December 1997 based on UNHCR estimate of a total of 40 000 returnees during that period (5714 per month)
With 80-85 percent of the "new" refugees having returned to Rwanda, future population trends are set to stabilize around the natural growth rate. UNHCR estimates a total of 40 000 returns between June and December this year. Of the remainder of refugees outside the country, many may have perished as a result of famine and disease and violence afflicted by civil strife. Those who returned have been instructed by the Government to return to their commune of origin, which may not necessarily be the ones in which they lived before migration. Data on where returnees registered and the implications for the population size of individual prefectures will become available shortly. Table 2 presents an approximate picture of the spatial population distribution, based on the total population estimate for June 1997 and on an extrapolation of the distribution pattern estimated at the beginning of the year.
Table 2: Estimated Population Distribution by Prefecture, June 1997
Main entry points for the returnees were, in the order of numbers of people entering, Gisenyi, Kibungo, Butare, Cyangugu and, more recently, Kigali (repatriation by air lift). Returnees were received and assisted in transit camps, from where they were to depart to their communes of origin after a short period. Upon registration in their communes, returnees were eligible for emergency assistance, including up to six monthly food rations (see emergency food aid section below). On returning to Rwanda, many returnees found their homesteads, which they fled in 1994, occupied by those who remained behind or by new-comers who had been in exile until 1994. This has sometimes led to land disputes between residents and returnees, which has impeded cultivation. On the other hand, there are examples such as Kibungo Prefecture, where land seems to have been equitably shared between returnees and current occupants. In this Prefecture of close to 750 000 inhabitants at present, 350 000 people are recent returnees who arrived from DRC and Tanzania in November and December 1996, and an additional 150 000 are "old caseload" returnees who returned after over 30 years in exile since the second half of 1994. Thus, about two-thirds of Kibungo’s population is made up of returnees of one kind or another. This illustrates the tremendous challenges facing prefectures in reintegrating people into the production process and relaunching the local economy.
Total food production in the ‘A’ season was estimated at 1.93 million tons, an increase of eight percent over 1996 A, but still 11 percent below pre-crisis levels (1989/93). Cereal production was estimated at 93 700 tons (28 percent above 1996 A), that of pulses at 102 600 tons ( a reduction of 12 percent), bananas at 1.08 million tons (an increase of 2 percent) and roots and tubers at 657 100 tons (an increase of 23 percent).
The Mission estimates that the planted area has further increased in comparison to both 1996 B and 1997 A areas, thus continuing the trend of recent years towards a restoration of planted area to pre-crisis levels which have, however, not yet been reached. Progress in this regard appears particularly significant in Gisenyi and Butare. At the same time, Butare remains among the prefectures with the highest share of uncultivated land, together with Kibuye and Kibungo. Planted-area expansion has been slowed down by a variety of factors, especially (i) the late arrival and settlement of returnees in their communes of origin in relation to the start-up of season B preparations; (ii) the occurrence of land disputes between returnees and current farm occupants, which at times led to land not being cultivated at all; (iii) the demand on labour for settlement-related activities such as house construction; and (iv) the lack of planting material, especially sweet potato and cassava cuttings, and of simple agricultural tools, above all hoes.
Rainfalls have set in late, have been irregular in large parts of the country (East, South and Centre) and altogether have been excessive throughout Rwanda. Excessive rains have caused root diseases in beans and sweet potatoes and will thus negatively affect their yields. They have also damaged sorghum grown in wetlands. Cassava yields will be seriously affected by mosaic disease, and mildew is expected to reduce potato yields. In the case of bananas, there have been occurrences of fusarium infection. Sorghum yields and those of cereals as a whole are expected to be good. The same holds true for most other crops, including yams, peas, groundnuts and Soya.
Total crop production in 1997 B is estimated at 1.941 million tons, an increase of six percent over 1996 B (Table 3). Cereals account for nearly 128 000 tons (17 percent above 1996 B), pulses for less than 54 000 tons (a reduction of 26 percent), bananas for 1.171 million tons (an increase of 12 percent), and roots and tubers for some 589 000 tons (a decline of 3 percent). Production of all crops, except for wheat and paddy, are significantly below pre-crisis levels (1990): on average, production in 1997 B is 19 percent less than in 1990 B.
Table 3: Rwanda - Foodcrop production: 1997B season forecast compared
with previous years (‘000 tons)
|TOTAL||1990 B||1996 B||1997 B||97/90(%)||97/96(%)|
|Sorghum||113 728||85 176||107 104||94||126|
|Maize||14 427||12 495||11 327||79||91|
|Wheat||4 738||5 614||4 897||103||87|
|Paddy||3 934||5 496||4 305||109||78|
|TOTAL CEREALS||136 827||108 780||127 633||93||117|
|Beans||68 899||60 347||43 515||63||72|
|Pease + A33||4 736||4 350||2 578||54||59|
|Groundnuts||4 710||4 220||3 149||67||75|
|Soya||12 890||3 302||4 279||33||130|
|TOTAL PULSES||91 235||72 219||53 521||59||74|
|BANANAS||1 378 132||1 049 397||1 170 819||85||112|
|Potatoes||136 101||96 381||96 125||71||100|
|Sweet potatoes||453 215||368 601||357 524||79||97|
|Taro and yams||61 666||39 384||46 916||76||119|
|Cassvaa||128 239||102 638||88 294||69||86|
|TOTAL ROOTS & TUBERS||779 221||607 004||588 859||76||97|
|TOTAL||2 385 415||1 837 401||1 940 833||81||106|
Detailed production estimates for each prefecture are given in Table 4.
Table 4: Rwanda: Foodcrop production in 1997 B season by prefecture
|Crop \ Prefectures||Butare||Byumba||Cyangugu||Gikongoro||Gisenyi||Gitarama||Kibungo||Kibuye||Kigali||Ruhengeri||Umutara||Rwanda|
|Sorghum||11 642||30 614||233||2 877||433||5 496||13 424||2 143||28 063||
|Maize||221||1 251||253||114||4 559||284||467||460||1 869||
|Beans||1 173||2 799||2 338||355||4 270||3 124||4 399||652||10 973||
|Bananas||61 548||133 266||51 113||24 619||75 770||149 221||249 054||17 860||212 788||
||1 170 819|
|Potatoes||387||1 991||612||1 716||34 065||1 259||751||2 625||2 080||
|Sweet potatoes||33 794||48 440||15 381||28 367||46 797||47 855||15 149||13 619||37 858||
|Taro and yams||3 759||968||6 676||2 341||3 719||6 740||2 506||2 964||6 942||
|Cassava||4 919||6 228||8 044||1 063||4 669||27 752||1 122||1 280||23 989||
Table 5: Annual foodcrop production, 1990-1997 (‘000 tons)
|Crop||1990||1991||1992||1993||1994||1995||1996||1997||97/96 %||97/90 %|
|Bananas||2 777||2 120||2 316||2 136||1 489||2 002||2 105||2 248||107||81|
|Roots & tubers||1 448||1 429||1 783||1 697||1207||881||1 144||1 246||109||86|
|TOTAL||4 725||4 035||4 568||4 244||2 879||3 158||3 620||3 871||107||82|
In general, prospects for sorghum and maize are good. The recent returnees have contributed to increasing the area planted to sweet potatoes as well as to improving the state of banana plantations. On the other hand, the scarcity of essential inputs will negatively affect the overall outcome of the current season. Input scarcity together with excessive rains in the most fertile areas are expected to result in an overall modest 1997 B harvest, leaving the prefecture with a significant staple food deficit. The food situation will be particularly precarious in the communes with relatively poor soils such as Maraba, Huye, Runyinya, Nyabisindu, Ruhashya, Rusatira and Mbazi.
Livestock, both cattle and sheep, goats and smaller animals, remains at very much reduced levels. Farmers are eager to restock, but would require credit assistance and improved supplies of veterinary products.
The household food security situation is particularly difficult for the "vulnerable households" cultivating about one-quarter of a hectare of mostly poor soils. In the poor, densely populated zones, these households make up 30-40 percent of all farm households. They rely heavily on additional sources of income to meet family food needs and frequently seek work by migrating to less densely populated areas, including Gikongoro Prefecture.
Overall, Butare’s food security situation remains precarious. There is a continuing need for food aid, largely as food-for-work instead of free distribution, and for overcoming severe logistic inefficiencies in the distribution of such aid by local authorities. In addition, inputs aid programmes need to be stepped up to remove the considerable shortages experienced during the current ‘B’ season.
Rains arrived somewhat late towards the end of March, but then continued regularly and abundant, even excessive, with hail and floods damaging crops in the communes of Giti, Rutare, Kinyami and Kiyombe. The heavy rains throughout the Prefecture will reduce yields by causing root diseases in beans and mildew with potatoes. Sorghum, which is generally planted in January, went off to a difficult start due to the delayed rains throughout the East, but has developed normally in the higher altitude zones. Inputs experienced considerable price hikes with the arrival of the returnees. Quality seeds, fertilizer and manure, and pesticides were in scarce supply.
The food security situation is not alarming, but significant food deficits are to be expected, particularly in the light of the forecast poor beans and potato results. "Vulnerable households" which had remained in the country are currently covering 20-30 percent of their food needs through their own production, returnee households 15-25 percent, according to a Save the Children Fund (UK) study in North-East Byumba. They seek to assure their food security through income from work on tea plantations or by household members migrating to other prefectures in search of work.
Bean production is forecast to drop sharply due lack of seeds and root diseases which have been particularly severe this season. Soya and groundnut yields will be good, but the planted area is much less than in normal years. Rice and maize production iappear encouraging. Banana production is likely to drop considerably because of various fungus diseases. Coffee plantations are in a poor state, due to insufficient care and abandonment, as well as a proliferation of diseases. In the wetlands, areas planted are close to normal, but yields will be low due to a scarcity of pesticides (especially Dithane)
Livestock herds have been rebuilt, and the number of animals now slightly exceeds pre-crisis levels. But no livestock support programme exists due to a lack of veterinary cadres.
While Cyangugu’s production situation is generally encouraging, its supply situation will be determined by what is going to happen to the largely informal transborder trade. The Prefecture has traditionally shared its production with the town of Bukavu across the border in the DRC. There could be major outflows this year, with the risk of creating a significant deficit on the Rwandan side. The situation must be kept under surveillance. So far, food aid is not expected to be needed, but inputs support will be required for the coming season.
On the positive side, the Agricultural Development Project of Gikongoro has supported the multiplication of seed and planting material for beans, potatoes and sweet potatoes; the maintenance of the irrigation network; some reforestation; and the restocking of livestock herds.
As in other parts of the country, rains generally set in on time, but were irregular and excessive, with cases of hail and floods in the zones of medium altitude. The damage to beans, green peas, maize and sorghum was considerable.
There have been improvements in the livestock situation. The size of cattle herds is close to pre-crisis levels. But veterinary support in terms of both personnel and medicines is badly lacking. Tuberculosis and foot and mouth disease are of major concern.
The Prefecture’s food security situation remains precarious, and major food aid and inputs aid efforts will be required over the next two seasons, i.e. 1998 A and B.
Markets are well stocked, with the exception of beans which are in very short supply. Commercial transborder exchanges with DRC have been fully restored. But the food trade balance between Gisenyi and the DRC’s Kivu region needs to be closely watched in relation to the Prefecture’s food security situation.
Progress is being made in restocking livestock herds, but pre-crisis levels have not yet been reached. Significant incidences of diseases have been noted, but veterinary support is clearly inadequate.
While the overall outlook for this season is good compared to last year’s ‘B’ season, the 1997 B harvest is unlikely to meet the Prefecture’s food requirements entirely.
Rains set in late, continued regularly, but were shorter than usual. Root disease affected the bean crop at maturation and harvest stage, and potato yields will be reduced by mildew. Bananas are affected by fusarium, which appears to attack especially the Kayinja variety. Groundnut cultivation - of particular interest in the Mayaga zone (Ntongwe and Mugina) and in Central Gitarama (Tambwe, Mukingi, Musambira and Kigoma) - suffered from a lack of seeds. Sweet potatoes promise good results and will constitute the food security basis for the Gitarama people.
The Prefecture’s food security situation remains tight and is precarious in the communes of Murama, Masango, Tambwe, Musambira and Kigoma. Food security and nutrition surveillance of vulnerable households must continue, and both food and inputs aid will be required.
Some 350 000 "new" returnees or about 45 percent of the current population re-entered Kibungo between November 1996 and April 1997, coming predominantly from Tanzania. In 1994, some 150000 "old" refugees or 20 percent of the current population had returned. Thus, of the present population, only about one-third constitutes "the old guard" that never fled the country. As noted earlier, the local authorities have been remarkably successful in reallocating land, but the current season will be a difficult transition period for both the new returnees and the "old caseload" population that has to leave lands they have been occupying.
Against this background, planted area has increased significantly, although it would have expanded even more with adequate inputs supplies. Rains were delayed and then abundant. Prospects for beans planted early (about one-third) are not encouraging because of root and leaf diseases, but those planted later because of late arrival of seeds promise better results. Cassava production was hampered by lack of planting material and yields will be low due to mosaic disease. On the other hand, the production of sweet potatoes and sorghum appears promising, and that of bananas is forecast to produce very good results.
Cattle herds have been rebuilt to the point that the number of animals slightly exceeds pre-crisis levels. In contrast, the population of sheep, goat and smaller animals remains much below earlier levels. Moreover, there are fears that the extensive methods of livestock husbandry traditionally practiced may clash with the new land distribution regulations. Veterinary products are available in zones bordering with Umutara Prefecture, but virtually non-existent in other areas.
Food aid will generally not be needed any longer in Kibungo, except for a limited number of vulnerable households, which should receive such aid in the form of food for work rather than free distribution. However, inputs aid will be critical for the next season, and livestock support programmes will be of major importance for future food security in the Prefecture.
Altogether, the food security situation in Kibuye takes on alarming proportions. Further food aid will be essential, but should be provided in ways supportive of food production activities, for example, marshland improvements and seed multiplication.
Following poor harvests in 1997 A, and with the arrival of considerable numbers of returnees, the Prefecture on the whole - despite expected good results in the North - will continue to experience a food deficit situation. The latter will be particularly acute in the Bugesera region. Food aid will be needed for vulnerable households and inputs aid for the rural areas in general, with emphasis on healthy planting material for sweet potatoes and cassava.
Table 6: Staple Food Price Indices by Prefecture, June 1997 over June 1996 (June 1996=100) 1/
The most dramatic increases were recorded for beans, with a tripling of prices country-wide. In Kibungo, bean prices more than quadrupled. The next highest price increases were for sweet potatoes, which in June 1997 amounted to two-and-a-half times the national average of June last year; the increases were particularly severe in Gikongoro, Cyangugu and rural Kigali, where prices more than tripled or quadrupled, reflecting extreme scarcity of supplies. Cassava prices on average doubled at the national level, with the highest increases occurring in Cyangugu and rural Kigali, where they approximately tripled. For potatoes, average national price increases were 67 percent, with a doubling in Gikongoro and rural Kigali. Sorghum recorded a national average price increase of 44 percent. The lowest increases occurred for bananas, with a national average of about 30 percent, but wide variations among prefectures, ranging from a doubling in Cyangugu to price reductions in the order of five percent in Gisenyi, Kibuye and Ruhengeri. Prices in Rwanda’s capital were above national averages for all staple foods except potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Over the next months, prices are bound to ease with the incoming 1997 B harvest. They are, however, expected to remain well above last year’s levels, notably for pulses and roots and tubers.
These price developments have major implications for access to food, especially by poor households. Studies undertaken in May this year by the Save the Children Fund (UK) [ SCF-UK - Preliminary Food Economy Summaries for Byumba, Butare, Gikongoro and Central Kibungo, June 1997] in selected prefectures and communes illustrate this point. Their findings suggest, for example, that poor returnee households in Western Byumba will have to purchase 75-80 percent of their food needs in the market during the second half of this year; that would be about the same as in the case of poor households which stayed (70-80 percent). In the densely populated communes of Gikongoro and Butare, poor returnee households are to meet 45-50 percent of their food needs through market purchases, those who stayed 55-65 percent. In Central Kibungo, households currently cultivating 0.5 ha will purchase 45-50 percent, those with 0.25 ha between 25-35 percent and 65-70 percent, depending on the number of economically active household members. After accounting for market purchases and self-produced food, some households will still be left with an unmet food deficit of varying size, which would have to be met by food aid. Notwithstanding the limited scope of these studies, they clearly demonstrate the heavy dependence of poor households on market purchases to meet their food needs and thus the dramatic impact of recent price developments on household food security.
Food consumption requirements are calculated on the basis of the historical consumption of 33 kg of cereals per caput per year, 32 kg of pulses, 188 kg of roots and tubers and 408 kg of bananas. Feed use of grains has been negligible since the sharp reduction of the national livestock herd during 1994. Other uses of grains include seed retention and losses (mainly to pests in storage and in trading). Altogether non-food uses and losses are assumed to account for 11 percent of cereals, 20 percent of pulses, 9 percent of roots and tubers and 3 percent of bananas and plantains.
Rwanda’s current food stocks situation is largely determined by food aid stocks. Under normal conditions, farm households would build up stocks of pulses during the ‘A’ season and cereal stocks during the ‘B’ season. Commercial traders normally do not hold large stocks of these commodities. The Government used to maintain working and small reserve stocks through the parastatal National Food and Livestock Board (OPROVIA), but this institution is at present not functional. After the poor beans harvest in 1997 A, neither farmers nor traders are likely to hold more than minimal residual stocks at the beginning of July 1997, and given the outlook for beans in 1997 B, the stock position at the end of the year will be by no means better. The situation for cereals is expected to be more favourable, given the estimated relatively good production performance for both seasons.
Commercial food import 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. The uncertainties of official statistics are compounded by considerable, unregistered transborder trade with neighbouring countries, which can change direction in terms of net imports or net exports for the same commodity even within the same year. The preceding regional analysis suggested that this year trade between Cyangugu and Bukavu in the DRC and between Ruhengeri and Umutara on the one hand and Uganda on the other needed to be particularly monitored. In recent months, there appears to have been a net outflow of foodcrops to the DRC and Uganda, while at the time of the December 1996 FAO/WFP Mission there seemed to be net imports of beans from Uganda. After reviewing all these factors, the mission estimates commercial imports in the order of 15 000 tons and 14 000 tons for cereals and pulses, respectively, during the second semester of 1997.
Table 7: Food Balance July-December 1997 ('000tons) Population
30/09/96 (' 000): 8 056
|Total cereals||Pulses||Total cer&pul||Roots&tub.||Bananas|
|Domestic availability||144||59||203||589||1 171|
|1997 B production||128||54||182||589||1 171|
|Total utilization||163||144||323||810||1 679|
|food aid requirement2/||4||72||76||66||37|
Table 8: Food Balance January-December 1997 ('000 tons) Population
30/09/96 (' 000): 8 056
|Domestic availability||245||161||406||1 246||2 249|
|1997 production||222||157||379||1 246||2 249|
|Total utilization||325||292||617||1 612||3 323|
|Consumption||263||255||519||1 500||3 255|
|Import requirements||61||131||192||366||1 074|
|food aid requirement2/||31||103||134||110||78|
Within the framework of these various assumptions, the Mission’s estimated food balance for the second half of 1997 suggests a deficit of 19 000 tons of cereals, 86 000 tons of pulses, 221 000 tons of roots and tubers and 508 000 tons of bananas (Table 7). The deficit in roots and tubers has been converted into cereal equivalents, since these commodities are not available as food aid; in addition, they are expensive to import as they are bulky and perishable. Over two-thirds of the bananas produced are consumed in the form of banana beer (mainly by men) and therefore not easily substitutable for cereals in the household food basket. Nevertheless, the portion of the banana production consumed cooked and as fruit, with a higher calorie content, has been converted into cereal equivalent.
After allowance for possible commercial imports, there would remain a food aid requirement of 4 000 tons of cereals plus 72 000 tons of pulses. Conversion of root and tuber deficits and a part of bananas would add another 103 000 tons of cereal equivalent. For the purpose of comparison, actual food aid distributed during the first semester of 1997 amounted to some 110 000 tons.
For the whole of 1997, the cereal and pulse deficit is estimated at
192 000 tons, of which 134 000 would be required as food aid (Table 8).
Conversion of the corresponding root, tuber and banana deficits, would
add an additional 188 000 tons of cereal equivalent to be covered by food
This increase of almost 150 percent over the previous semester was in response to the sharply increased food needs following the massive return of refugees and poor harvests, notably of pulses, in 1997 A season. Also, there remains a large number of "vulnerable households" in the wake of the civil strife in the first half of this decade. In fact, over 70 percent of the January-June 1997 food aid was distributed to new returnees and vulnerable households. The main receiving prefectures were Kibungo, Gisenyi, Ruhengeri, Byumba and rural Kigali. Among the targeted vulnerable population were orphans, the elderly, handicapped people and households that had to give up the land they occupied before the current wave of repatriation, as well as victims of the droughts in South and Central Rwanda, notably Butare and Gikongoro, during the 1997 A season. Other emergency food aid programmes included selective child nutrition and nutritional rehabilitation programmes.
In addition to free food distribution, about 20 percent of food aid went as food-for-work to emergency programmes for the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector and of social infrastructure, as well as house construction programmes.
During the period under consideration, WFP provided some 15 000 tons of food per month to 146 communes. By the end of July, WFP, in collaboration with the Government, will have distributed six monthly rations to 1.5 million people.
At the beginning of the second semester of 1997, a large part of the current beneficiary population should have reached a degree of food self-sufficiency through their own production or through other sources of income, allowing a reduction of monthly food distribution to 10 000 tons. However, close nutritional and food security surveillance of the vulnerable population is called for. The activities of the Save the Children Fund (UK) are a welcome step in this direction. The second half of 1997 will, therefore, be a period of transition, where close to 700 000 people will still be in need of food assistance, taking into consideration the forecast results of the 1997 B agricultural campaign. The estimated food aid needs for the second semester of 1997 are summarized in Table 9. Given the prospect of major food deficits in 1997 B, these requirements need to be kept under close review as additional information on the current season becomes available.
Particular attention will be given to vulnerable groups, especially to new returnees not yet settled as well as to the most vulnerable households in the prefectures and communes expected to experience the most severe food deficits. To avoid creating dependency among the beneficiary population, a large part of the food will be distributed as food-for-work rather than free distribution. Emphasis will be given to the promotion of sustained household food security, the rehabilitation of basic infrastructure and the construction of houses. Assistance to refugees from the DRC and Burundi as well as new Rwandan returnees will be continued. An important aspect is the distribution of "protective rations" aimed at assuring that poor farm households do not use seed material for human consumption during the lean season.
Food aid stocks within the country are estimated at some 10 000 tons at the end of June 1997. In addition, WFP and the EU maintain sub-regional stocks of some 40 000 tons, which could be used for distribution in Rwanda should the need arise.
Table 9: Current Estimates of Food Aid Beneficiaries and requirements
during July-December 1997
|Type of Assistance||Target Group||Monthly Food Needs (tons)||Total (tons)|
|Supplementary feeding||74 500||751||4 506|
|Institutional feeding||17 500||317||1 902|
|Food-for-work||350 000||5852||35 112|
|Returnee assistance||125 000||1583||9 498|
|Vulnerable groups||50 000||414||2 484|
|Sub-Total||617 000||53 502|
|Refugee assistance||20 000||327||1 962|
|Nutrition Project PAN (RWA 4244)||53 445||4 148|
|TOTAL||693 445||59 903|
Table 10: Emergency supply requirements of essential agricultural
inputs to vulnerable and recent returnee households
|Bean seeds||8 400||5 880 000|
|Vegetable seeds||10.1||320 400|
|Soya seeds||630||630 000|
|Rhyzobium (for soya)||12.6||88 200|
|Garden pea seeds||840||840 000|
|Peanut seeds||210||357 000|
|Hoes (pieces)||1 680 000||6 720 000|
|Total Material||14 817 600|
|General and direct operating cost||1 600 000|
|TOTAL||16 417 600|
In addition, there is a need to look beyond the next agricultural seasons
towards a thorough rehabilitation of the agricultural sector and its eventual
reform from extensive and traditional agriculture towards modern and intensive
sector management. 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. The donor community should
carefully examine these proposed actions with a view to supporting Rwanda’s