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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 15-November-2016


  1. Erratic rains in October affect 2017A season crops

  2. Cereal production in 2016 estimated at below average levels due to disruption of agricultural activities in areas affected by civil insecurity and displacements

  3. About 1.5 million people estimated to be severely food insecure due to insecurity and economic crisis

  4. Households in eastern lowlands expected to face longer-than-usual lean season following well below-average 2016B season output

Erratic rains in October affect germinating 2017A season crops

Planting of the 2017A season crops, which represent about 35 percent of total crop production, was completed in October and the harvest is expected to start in December. The September to December “small-rains” season had a timely onset during the second dekad of September and rainfall amounts have been abundant until the first dekad of October. Since then, below-average rainfall amounts had negative effects on germinating crops, especially in eastern and northern cropping areas (see NDVI anomaly map). Meteorological forecasts point to average to below-average amounts until the end of the season and crop development warrants a close monitoring.

The 2016 cereal production is estimated at 245 000 tonnes, slightly below the last five-year average. Although crops benefited from generally favourable weather conditions in most cropping areas, the output of both 2016A and 2016B seasons has been well below average in conflict-affected areas of Rumonge, Bujumbura, Muyinga, Kirundo and Makamba provinces due to large-scale displacements and input shortages that have significantly disrupted agricultural activities. In addition, the early cessation of the rains in May has severely affected the output of the 2016B season sorghum and bean crops in eastern cropping areas along the border with the United Republic of Tanzania.

Pasture conditions improving across the country

The recent onset of the “small-rains” season has increased pasture and water availability across the country. In particular, beneficial rains have improved pasture conditions in most northern provinces that experienced a prolonged dry season following the early cessation of the “long-rains” season (February to May) at the beginning of May.

Severe food insecurity persists in areas affected by unrest and civil insecurity

Despite the recently-completed 2016B season harvest, the food insecure population in need of urgent humanitarian assistance is estimated at about 1.5 million. The persistent difficult situation is due to widespread insecurity and worsening socio‑economic conditions, with shrinking Government resources allocated to basic services and declining food import capacity. Insecurity is also severely constraining access to humanitarian assistance, especially near the capital, Bujumbura. In addition, the poorest households in eastern lowlands along the border with the United Republic of Tanzania are likely to quickly run out of stocks as they gathered a well below average 2016B season production in July/August.

Restrictions on food trade in the United Republic of Tanzania are lowering the availability of several commodities in most markets across the country with consequent upward pressure on local prices.

Since civil unrest erupted in April/May 2015, about 350 000 people have fled their homes. About 90 percent of them have arrived in neighbouring Rwanda, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as refugees and asylum seekers, while the remaining 10 percent, mostly women and children, are internally displaced in the country.