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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 28-March-2018


  1. Abundant rains in March offset moisture deficits and lift production prospects of 2018B season crops

  2. Average 2018A season harvest, with localized production shortfalls in eastern areas due to below-average rainfall

  3. Maize prices stable in recent months around their year-earlier levels

  4. Generally good food security situation, with pockets of food insecurity in some eastern districts

  5. Significant number of refugees from Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo in need of humanitarian assistance

Heavy rains in March lifted prospects for 2018B season crops

Planting of the 2018B season crops, to be harvested from May, is almost complete. According to remote sensing information, rains had a timely onset in early February, but the monthly cumulative rainfall was 20-60 percent below the long-term average over most cropping areas. Most severe deficits were observed in central and eastern districts, where they had a negative impact particularly on the establishment of the early-planted crops. Abundant rainfall in the first and second dekads of March offset moisture deficits, improving vegetation conditions and lifting crop prospects.

According to the latest Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum weather forecast, the March-May rains are likely to be average to above average, with a positive impact on crop yields. In particular, rainfall amounts and distribution in the coming weeks will be crucial for crop performance and a close monitoring is warranted.

Average output for 2018A season crops

Harvesting of the 2018A season crops was concluded in February. Crop production is expected at average levels as the September-December 2017 “short-rains” rainy season was characterized by adequate rainfall amounts and a favourable distribution over most cropping areas. By contrast, in parts of Nyagatare, Kayonza and Kirehe districts in Eastern Province, erratic rains resulted in localized production shortfalls.

Maize prices stable in recent months

In the capital, Kigali, wholesale prices of maize were mostly stable in recent months, around their year-earlier levels. By contrast, prices of beans increased by 6 percent between December 2017 and February 2018, when they were 10 percent higher than in the same month of the previous year.

Food security conditions are generally good, except in some eastern areas and for refugees

The country is generally food secure. Food availability has improved since last December when the 2018A season crops started to be available for local consumption, ending the main lean season. Agricultural activities related to the cultivation of 2018B season crops are providing labour opportunities for the poor households, improving their purchasing power and access to food. However, food security is deteriorating in Nyagatare, Kayonza and Kirehe districts of Eastern Province, where households are facing IPC Phase 2: “Stressed” food insecurity levels as stocks have been depleted earlier than usual following the below-average 2018A production. In response, the Government conducted food assistance distributions to assist the vulnerable households.

According to UNHCR, as of January 2018, the country hosts about 174 000 refugees and asylum seekers. About 75 000 of them are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while nearly 90 000 are Burundians living in Mahama Camp in Kirehe District. The food security of the refugees is essentially guaranteed by the provision of continued humanitarian assistance. However, food assistance operations are constrained by funding gaps and, to help ameliorate the food security situation of the refugees, the Government has modified the mobility rules to allow them to seek for labour opportunities to support market food purchases. The Government is also in the process of integrating the refugees in its national safety net programme, including high-intensity labour programmes.

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