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Country Briefs

  Burundi

Reference Date: 11-June-2018

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Average 2018B crop production despite significant pulse losses due to excess moisture

  2. Widespread floods in April resulting in displacement of about 9 600 individuals

  3. Above-average 2018A season output due to favourable weather conditions

  4. Prices of maize declining in recent months to low levels, prices of beans on increase

  5. About 1.67 million people estimated to be severely food insecure, 35 percent less than one year earlier, due to improved crop production

  6. Areas most affected by food insecurity are Kinyinya commune in eastern Ruyigi Province and flood affected areas

Average 2018B crop production despite significant pulse losses due to excess moisture

Harvesting of the 2018B main season crops, accounting for about 50 percent of the yearly crop production, is underway. The February-to-May “long-rains” season was characterized by below-average precipitation in February and March, followed by exceptionally high rainfall amounts in April (more than twice the long-term average). The heavy rains had a positive impact on vegetation conditions and lifted overall crop prospects but also caused landslides and triggered widespread flooding. The floods, mostly occurred in lowland and marshland areas, resulted in damage to houses, infrastructures and farmland, and in the displacement of about 10 000 people. The abundant seasonal rains were beneficial to cereals, sweet potatoes, bananas and cassava crops, while they are expected to result in a reduced output of beans, which are the main crop grown during this season and particularly vulnerable to excessive moisture. Overall, the aggregate 2018 B season production is expected at average levels.

Earlier in the year, the harvest of 2018A season crops, representing about 35 percent of the yearly crop production and more than 60 percent of the total maize output, was concluded in January. Production is estimated at above-average levels, as the September-to-December “small-rains” season was favourable over most cropping areas, except in some lowland areas in northwestern provinces of Bubanza and Cibitoke, where delayed and below-average rains had a negative impact on yields. Maize losses due to Fall Armyworm were minimal due to the successful implementation of infestation control (mainly mechanic measures) and abundant rains affecting pest reproduction.

Accordingly, the overall cereal production in 2018 (including an average output of the minor 2018C season crops, to be harvested between August and September in marshlands and irrigated areas) is tentatively forecast at about 315 000 tonnes, 8 percent above the average output obtained in 2017.

An outbreak of sheep and goat plague, detected in December 2017 in Karuzi, Kirundo, Gitega and Muramvya provinces and subsequently in Bubanza and Cibitoke provinces, resulted so far in the death of about 8 500 goats. In response, the Government has closed all small ruminants markets in the affected areas and launched, in early April, a vaccination campaign, supported by FAO through the provision of 800 000 doses of vaccines, in addition to those provided by the World Bank and by the African Union. About 3 million animals have been vaccinated so far.

Prices of maize on decline and at low levels, prices of beans on increase

In the capital, Bujumbura, prices of maize declined by almost 30 percent between November 2017 and February 2018 as newly harvested crops from the 2018A above-average harvest increased supplies. Prices declined by another 6 percent between March and May, when they were more than 40 percent lower than the high levels of one year earlier. By contrast, in the northern Kirundo market, prices of beans surged by 40 percent between April and May, as seasonal trends were compounded by concerns over 2018B season production shortfalls due to excess moisture.

Improving food security situation except for flood-affected households

According to the results of the latest IPC analysis (projection), valid for the period April-May 2018, about 1.67 million people (15 percent of the population) are estimated to be severely food insecure (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and Phase 4: “Emergency”). This is about 35 percent less than in the same period of last year, when the food insecure caseload was estimated at about 2.57 million. The improvement followed the above-average 2018A crop production, which allowed a large number of households to engage in agricultural activities, to replenish stocks and to ameliorate the quantity and quality of their food intake.

The area most affected by food insecurity is the Kinyinya commune in the eastern Ruyigi Province, classified in IPC Phase 3: “Crisis”. Here, the food security situation is affected by the lingering effects of consecutive poor rainy seasons and by the impact of erratic rains during the 2018A season. In addition, in the areas most affected by the recent floods, the crop and asset losses have resulted in the deterioration of the food security situation of the displaced population.

Since civil unrest erupted in April/May 2015, thousands of people have fled their homes. About 420 000 refugees are still residing in neighbouring United Republic of Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while about 169 000 people are internally displaced.

However, since late September 2017, a returnee influx has been registered, with more than 24 000 people having returned to the country with the support of the humanitarian community as of April 2018. About 73 000 voluntary returnees from the United Republic of Tanzania are expected by the end of 2018, assisted through an action plan adopted by the Tripartite Commission (Burundi/United Republic of Tanzania/UNHCR) for the voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees in the United Republic of Tanzania.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.