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Country Briefs

  Rwanda

Reference Date: 06-August-2019

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Favourable outcome of the “2019B” season due to abundant mid and late season rains

  2. Above‑average aggregate cereal production expected in 2019

  3. Prices of maize firm at high levels in June due to reduced imports from Uganda following the closure of border custom posts

  4. Favourable food security situation, including for the 150 000 refugees from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Favourable outcome of the “2019B” season due to abundant mid and late season rains

Harvesting of the “2019B” crops, accounting for almost 20 percent of the aggregated cereal output, has been recently concluded. The February‑May rainy season was characterized by a significantly delayed onset, with precipitations fully establishing only in the second half of March. However, rains in April and May were well above the average, offsetting moisture deficits, improving vegetation conditions and lifting crop prospects. Rains atypically continued into mid‑June, allowing late planted crops to fully mature. As a result, aggregated crop production is expected to be at above‑average levels, driven by ample harvests of maize, cassava, sweet potatoes and banana. However, the output of beans and Irish potatoes (particularly vulnerable to excessive moisture) is expected to be at average levels due to localized losses following the heavy late season downpours.

Above‑average aggregate cereal production expected in 2019

The main “2019A” harvest, contributing to more than 80 percent of the aggregated cereal output, was concluded in February. The September‑December 2018 rainy season was characterized by early‑season dryness, especially in the Eastern and Southern provinces, and planting, normally completed in October, was delayed by about three weeks. The rainy season fully established in mid‑October, but rainfall amounts remained below average until mid‑November. Subsequently, the above‑average rains until late December offset the moisture deficits and brought cumulative seasonal amounts to above‑average levels, substantially improving vegetation conditions and benefiting yields.

According to official estimates, the “2019A” season cereal production is put at 438 000 tonnes, 10 percent above the average of the previous five years. Similarly, production of roots and tubers (mainly cassava and potato), cooking bananas and beans, important staples in the country’s diet, was respectively 20, 15 and 5 percent above average.

The 2019 aggregate cereal production is tentatively forecast at about 694 000 tonnes, 2 percent below the bumper 2018 output, but 6 percent above the average of the previous five years.

The minor “2018C” season harvest, mainly consisting of tubers and vegetables, will be gathered in September in marshlands and irrigated areas. Crop production is expected at above‑average levels as abundant rains in June have recharged water sources and rainfall is forecast at above‑average levels.

Prices of maize firm at high levels in June due to reduced imports

In the capital, Kigali, wholesale prices of maize remained firm in June despite the ongoing “2019B” harvest and they were about 20 percent higher than one year earlier. The high price levels, in spite of adequate carryover stocks from the above‑average “2019A” harvest and the favourable prospects for the “2019B” crops, were due to reduced imports from Uganda following the closure of border custom posts. Similarly, prices of beans declined by about 5 percent in June, but remained about 10 percent higher than in the same month of the previous year.

Food security conditions are generally good including for refugees

The country is generally food secure. Food availability has improved since May, when the “2019B” season crops started to be available for local consumption, ending the lean season.

According to the UNHCR, as of May 2019, the country hosts about 150 000 refugees and asylum seekers. Nearly 78 000 of them are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while about 72 000 are Burundians living in the Mahama Camp in Kirehe District. Under the framework of an interagency multi-sector response led by the Government’s Ministry in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA), refugees are provided with basic services and food and nutrition assistance. In addition, they are increasingly integrated in national economic and social systems as they are allowed and encouraged to seek for labour opportunities to support market food purchases. As a result, their current food security situation is generally satisfactory.

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