In Burundi, acute vulnerabilities persist with 65 percent of the population living below the poverty line. The effects of climate hazards and insecurity continue to significantly affect agricultural production in a country where 90 percent of Burundians rely on subsistence farming. FAO aims to restore the livelihoods of crisis-affected families through timely agricultural support to ensure their self-reliance and reduce dependency on food assistance.

Impact on food security and agricultural production

The more favourable weather conditions, a 30‑percent reduction in the number of IDPs, the decrease in food prices and the end of the malaria epidemic are some of the factors that in 2018 contributed to a slight improvement of the food security situation in Burundi. Nonetheless, vulnerable families are still affected by weak economic opportunities and purchasing power along with the loss of productive assets, which continue to limit their food access. Furthermore, the outcome of the 2017/18 agricultural season remains below average, mainly due to demographic pressure and climate events – hail, strong winds and floods – that have caused the loss of crops and livelihoods for more than 25 000 households, while maize fields are still affected by fall armyworm. As a result, there are 1.7 million people severely food insecure (IPC, August 2018) and about 121 000 children under five affected by acute malnutrition.

In a context of chronic food insecurity, whose severe and moderate forms affect half of the Burundian population, the resilience of communities is undermined and the slightest shock has significant consequences. The reception of displaced people by vulnerable host communities with an already high incidence of land conflict also contributes to worsening their food security. The northeastern and eastern provinces that host more than 80 percent of returnees and IDPs are the most vulnerable. The coastal region of Lake Tanganyika is also home to a large number of vulnerable people affected by floods, landslides and disruptions in economic exchanges with the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a result of growing insecurity along the border.

FAO’s response

Intensified voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees, extreme climate variability, the threat of fall armyworm and other crop pests, and weak economic opportunities affect households’ livelihoods and are likely to further increase their food insecurity. For 2019, FAO requires USD 6.3 million to assist 546 000 people to improve their immediate food production. Specific activities will focus on the provision of agricultural inputs for vegetable production and cash-based transfers to allow families to produce their own food and earn an income.


More about the country

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