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Country Briefs

  Burundi

Reference Date: 24-November-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Good overall conditions of 2018A crops to be harvested in early 2018

  2. Satisfactory 2017cereal output despite poor performance of 2017A harvest due to insufficient rains

  3. Prices of maize declined in recent months but remain at high levels due to reduced imports

  4. About 2.6 million people estimated to be severely food insecure due to insecurity and economic crisis

  5. Areas most affected by food insecurity are Imbo Plain in east and northern and western lowlands, where up to 50 percent of population severely food insecure

Good overall conditions of 2018A crops despite erratic seasonal rains

Planting of the 2018A season crops, which represent about 35 percent of the total crop production, was completed in October in most cropping areas and the harvest is expected to start in early 2018. The September-to-December “small-rains” season had an erratic temporal distribution but adequate cumulative amounts in most cropping areas, except in central Karuzi and Gitega, as well as in some lowland areas in Ruyigi and Bubanza provinces, where cumulative rainfall so far has been up to 57 percent below average, and planting was delayed. According to remote sensing analysis and information (see Vegetation Condition Index Map), crop conditions are generally good, except in some central areas, where rainfall deficits were more severe and affected crop development.

Fall Armyworm outbreaks, attacking germinating maize crops (the main crop planted during season A), are reported in lower altitude areas, including Bubanza, Ruyigi, southwestern Makamba and Rumonge provinces and northeastern Muyinga and Kirundo provinces. Infestation control measures have been successfully implemented (mainly mechanic measures), while a draft nationwide action plan for an integrated and coordinated pest management has been presented to partners and will be finalized shortly.

Satisfactory 2017 cereal output

The minor 2017C season harvest, accounting for about 15 percent of the total crop production, has recently been completed in marshlands and irrigated areas and production has been estimated at average levels. The major 2017B season harvest, representing about 50 percent of the yearly crop output, concluded in July, had a favourable outcome due to adequate and well-distributed rains over most cropping areas and was estimated at 670 059 tonnes (cereal equivalent) for all four main groups of crops (cereals, pulses, tubers and bananas) . By contrast, earlier in the year, the 2017A harvest was below average due to poor seasonal rainfall and was estimated at a low 483 686 tonnes (cereal equivalent). As a result, the 2017 cereal production is estimated at 244 000 tonnes, 2 percent down from last year’s output and similar to the average of the previous five years.

Prices of maize declining in recent months but still at high levels

In the capital, Bujumbura, prices of maize declined by 10 percent between June and October as newly harvested crops from the 2017B and C harvests increased supplies. However, October prices remained about 35 percent higher than their year-earlier levels. The limited extent of the seasonal price declines, in spite of the good performance of the B and C season harvests and the high year-on-year levels, are mainly due to the reduced imports from neighbouring United Republic of Tanzania and Rwanda, local currency devaluation, low foreign currency reserves hampering trade and fuel shortages leading to higher transport costs.

Severe food insecurity for large segments of population

According to the results of the latest IPC analysis (projection), valid for the period October-December 2017, about 2.6 million people (27 percent of the rural population) are estimated to be severely food insecure (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and Phase 4: “Emergency”). The areas most affected by food insecurity are the Imbo Plain in the West (westernmost areas of Cibitoke, Bubanza, Rural Bujumbura, Rumonge and Makamba provinces), the eastern and the northern lowlands (Muyinga, Cankuzo, Karuzi, Ruyigi, Rutana, Makamba and Kirundo provinces), where between 25 to 50 percent of the population, are severely food insecure.

Against an already fragile backdrop of high poverty and decreasing households’ purchasing power, the socio-political crisis embroiling Burundi since 2015 has caused a sharp decrease in economic activity and worsened living conditions for the population, causing a deterioration of the food security situation for large segments of the population The main constrains to food availability and access are limited access to agricultural inputs, declining food import capacity, loss of job opportunities, population displacements and high food and fuel prices.

Since civil unrest erupted in April/May 2015, thousands of people have fled their homes. About 403 000 refugees are still residing in neighbouring United Republic of Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while about 189 000 people are internally displaced. However, since late September 2017, a returnee influx has been registered, with more than 8 800 people returning in the country as of mid-November 2017 and about 73 000 voluntary returnees from the United Republic of Tanzania expected by the end of 2018.

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.