Bujumbura, Burundi – The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) has said that ood stocks and low food price has helped to maintain food prices in most areas of Burundi.
“Above-average household and market food stocks and low food prices are maintaining Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes in most areas. However, many poor households have depleted their cereal and legume stocks and are relying on markets for food purchases at a time when access to income is typically low due to the seasonal decline in demand for agricultural labor. As a result, a small proportion of the population is expected to be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the start of the harvest in December. Malaria remains a concern, with no change in incidence reported in the week ending on 27 October 2019 according to the World Health Organization,” says an outlook on the food situation in Burundi released by FEWSNET on Monday.
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.
The outlook says that above-average and well-distributed rainfall throughout the 2020A season to date has led to good crop development, with favorable harvests expected in December 2019/January 2020.
“However, localized flooding has caused damage to property, particularly in Muyinga Province and in the city of Rumonge, with further flooding and damage to crops expected given a forecast of above-average rainfall in late November. Though an outbreak of Fall Armyworm was recently signaled, significant impacts on crop production are not expected due to the availability of pesticides and improved knowledge of control practices among farmers,” the outlook says.
The Burundi National Institute of Statistics (ISTEEBU) reports that food prices increased negligibly between September and October, likely due to above-average food reserves from Season 2019B harvests, above-average Season 2019C harvests, and continuous production of bananas, roots, and tubers. As a result of current food stocks and anticipated favorable Season 2020A harvests, bean prices in the national reference market of Kirundo have decreased from about 1,000 BiF/kg in mid-October to about 875 BiF/kg in mid-November, according to key informants. This decrease comes at a time when food prices normally peak.
The outlook concludes that according to UNHCR, the number of voluntary returnees from the Tanzania refugee settlements totaled 2,293 in October. This is approximately double the average number of monthly returns over the previous three months, but represents only about a third of the target set by the governments of Tanzania and Burundi in August. One-time support packages provided to all newly returned refugees are supporting Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes among this population. Additional resources will be needed to provide this assistance in the event that the rate of return continues to increase.