Rwanda, Kigali – The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) has said the opening of the Uganda- Rwanda border will lead to decrease in the price of foodstuffs especially in urbal areas.
“Relations between the governments of Rwanda and Uganda are expected to normalize, followed by the reopening of the Gatuna border post. This is likely to reduce the prices of staples in Rwanda, particularly in urban areas” FEWSNET said in its food security outlook for Rwanda released on November 1, 2019.
FEWSNET is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 28 countries.
Commenting on the present rainfall season, FEWSNET said that the September to December 2019 Season A rainfall has been above average across the country and forecasts indicate rainfall for the remainder of the season will be average. Average harvests are expected from December 2019 to February 2020. Prices of staple foods are below the three-year average and are anticipated to remain low throughout the projection period. These factors will drive Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through May 2020.
“According to the National Institute of Statistics, food prices in Rwanda increased between August and September by 4.4 and 2.4 percent for rural and urban areas respectively. FEWS NET and East African Grain Council data show that the price of maize, the cereal most consumed in Rwanda, has been increasing since June and reached its 5-year average level in August and September. That price increase is partly related to the closure of the main border post between Uganda and Rwanda which remains closed despite discussions for a reopening. As the price of maize grain and flour are generally lower in Uganda than in Rwanda (Figure 1), the resumption of normal trade between the two countries would likely contribute to lowering food prices in Rwanda, thus improving households’ access to food,” the outlook says.
On the projected outcome through May 2020, FEWSNET says that it recently visited the Eastern, Southern and Western provinces and observed that the September 2019 – January 2020 Season A crops are developing well, as rains have been generally above average to average across the country. Farmers staggered their planting, based on rainfall distribution and as a climate risk reduction strategy, but no significant planting delays were observed. The government supported farmers’ access to inputs through free or subsidized distribution of seeds, fertilizers, and other agricultural inputs. Rainfall is forecast to be average for the remainder of the season and this is expected to support an overall average harvest.
“However, sustained and abundant rains also greatly increase the risks of flooding in lowlands and valleys across the country, and landslides, particularly in mountainous areas of Western Province. These disasters cause the loss of household assets and destruction of crops in some areas. Some households will face difficulty meeting their basic food and non-food needs immediately following these events though the government and humanitarian partners are actively preparing to respond rapidly with assistance,” FEWSNET notes.
Looking forward FEWSNET says, the March to June 2020 Season B is forecast to be average, and therefore another average harvest in June-July is anticipated. This rainfall is also expected to support normal access to agricultural labor opportunities throughout the projection period. Normal production, typical access to income through farm and non-farm labor (road and irrigation projects, high labor intensity schemes), and average food prices are likely to support Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity among poor households throughout the projection period.