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Country Briefs

  Rwanda

Reference Date: 27-June-2018

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Significant production losses for pulse and rice crops in 2018B season due to excess moisture and floods

  2. About 50 000 people displaced in April and May due to widespread floods

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

  4. Prices of maize declining to low levels in recent months, prices of beans unseasonally increasing in May

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

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

Significant production losses for pulse and rice crops in 2018B season due to excess moisture and floods

Harvesting of the 2018B main season cereal crops is currently underway, while harvesting of beans is almost complete. The February-to-May “long-rains” season was characterized by below average precipitation in February and near average rains in March, followed by exceptionally high rainfall amounts in April and May (more than twice the long-term average). The heavy rains had a positive impact on vegetation conditions and lifted overall crop prospects, but also caused landslides and triggered widespread flooding. The floods caused damages to houses, infrastructures and farmland, and displaced about 50 000 people, with the most affected areas being located in Nyabihu and Rubavu districts in Western Province, Rulindo district in Northern Province, Gasabo District in Kigali Province and Gatsibo and Kirehe districts in Eastern Province. The abundant seasonal rains were beneficial to maize, sweet potatoes, bananas and cassava crops, while they resulted in a reduced output of beans, which are the main crop grown during the B season and are particularly vulnerable to excessive moisture, and in rice crop losses in some marshland areas. Overall, the aggregate 2018 B season crop production is expected at near average levels.

Earlier in the year, the harvest of 2018A season crops was concluded in February and crop production is estimated 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.

Accordingly, the overall cereal production in 2018 (including an average output of the minor 2018C season crops, to be harvested in September in marshlands and irrigated areas) is tentatively forecast at about 740 000 tonnes, slightly above the output obtained in 2017, but still below the average of the previous five years.

Prices of maize declining to low levels in recent months

In the capital, Kigali, wholesale prices of maize declined by almost 40 percent between January and April 2018 as newly harvested crops from the 2018A harvest increased supplies. Prices slightly increased following seasonal patterns in May, when they were more than 30 percent lower than the high levels of one year earlier. Prices of beans, after having declined by 7 percent in April, increased by 3 percent in May despite the start of the harvest, supported by concerns over 2018B season production shortfalls due to excess moisture. Prices of beans in May were about 10 percent higher than in the same month of the previous year.

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

The country is generally food secure. Food availability has improved since May, when 2018B season crops started to be available for local consumption, ending the lean season. The recent floods are expected to not have a significant impact on the acute food insecurity levels as the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees (MIDIMAR) is providing the affected populations with food assistance, building material and income-generating opportunities through infrastructure rehabilitation projects. However, food security is deteriorating to IPC Phase 2: “Stressed” food insecurity levels for some poor households in the worst affected areas and in parts of Eastern Province where the impact on livelihoods of the recent floods has compounded the 2018A season crop production shortfalls.

According to UNHCR, as of May 2018, the country hosts about 154 000 refugees and asylum seekers. About 75 000 of them are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while nearly 70 000 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. 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. However, with several fields flooded around Mahama Camp in Kirehe District, income earning sources have temporarily declined for Burundian refugees.

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