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  Burundi

Reference Date: 16-September-2019

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Weather forecasts pointing to above-average September-December 2019 rains, benefiting 2020A season crops

  2. Above-average 2019 cereal production due to favourable weather conditions

  3. Prices of staple foods declined in April and May and generally at low levels

  4. Food security conditions generally good due to consecutive above-average harvests

  5. Food security situation satisfactory also for about 75 000 refugees which have returned since 2017, mainly from the United Republic of Tanzania

Weather forecasts pointing to above-average September-December rains, benefiting 2020A season crops

Land preparation and planting of 2020A season crops, representing about 35 percent of the yearly crop production and for harvest from December 2019, have recently started. According to weather forecasts, the September-December rains are likely to be above average, with a positive impact on yields.

Above-average 2019 cereal production due to favourable weather conditions

The minor 2019C season harvest, representing about 15 percent of the yearly crop production, has recently started in marshlands and irrigated areas. Adequate rains in June and July have recharged water sources, and an above-average output is expected.

Harvesting of the 2019B main season crops, accounting for about 50 percent of the yearly crop output, was completed in July. The February-to-May “long-rains” season was characterized by below‑average precipitation in February and March, with some negative impacts on vegetation conditions. Subsequently, abundant rains in April and May over most cropping areas offset moisture deficits, substantially improved vegetation conditions (see vegetation Conditions Index Map) and lifted crop prospects. As a result, aggregate crop production is estimated at above‑average levels, driven by ample harvests of maize, cassava, sweet potatoes and bananas. However, the output of beans was average on account of localized losses in the northern Kirundo Province, located in a surplus producing area, where rains were below average throughout the growing period.

Earlier in the year, the harvest of 2019A season crops, representing about 35 percent of the yearly crop production, was concluded in February over most cropping areas and production is estimated at above‑average levels as rains were generally favourable in terms of amounts and distribution.

As a result, the 2019 aggregate cereal production is forecast at about 326 000 tonnes, similar to the output obtained in 2018 and 10 percent above the average of the previous five years.

Prices of staple foods declining and generally at low levels

In the capital, Bujumbura, prices of maize, beans and locally produced rice declined by 10-20 percent between April and June as traders released they stocks in anticipation of the 2019B harvest. Prices in June were around their year-earlier levels due to adequate domestic availabilities. Prices of cassava, another important staple in the country, were mostly stable in the first semester of 2019 and, in June 2019, they were 23 percent below their levels of June 2018.

Food security conditions generally good due to consecutive above-average harvests

Food availability and access have seasonally improved in June and July as crops from the above-average 2019B harvest became available for consumption. The country is generally food secure due to consecutive above-average harvests and low food prices.

Since civil unrest erupted in April/May 2015, thousands of Burundians fled their homes. About 344 000 refugees reside in neighbouring countries, mainly in the United Republic of Tanzania as well as in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Since late September 2017, a returnee influx has been registered and, as of late July 2019, more than 75 000 people had returned to the country with the support of the humanitarian community. A total of about 116 000 voluntary returnees, mainly from the United Republic of Tanzania, is expected by the end of 2019. Similarly, the number of Internally Displaced Persons declined from 151 000 to 109 000 over the last 12 months, and most of them are food secure, as they are engaged in agricultural activities in their host communities or receive assistance from relatives.

By contrast, refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, fleeing conflict in the Grand Kivu Region and estimated in late July at about 79 000 people, have limited livelihood opportunities and mainly rely on humanitarian assistance.

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