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Remotely Monitored Country
Remote Monitoring Report

Excluding maize, likely near-average Season A harvests to increase food access

December 2017

December 2017 - January 2018

February - May 2018

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • Initial Season A harvests have begun countrywide, improving poor household food availability and access. However, late and erratic rainfall, particularly in the northwest Imbo Plains, have potentially affected harvests, primarily maize. If the rains continue until mid-January, total national production is likely to be near normal, but localized areas are likely to be below-average. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected through May 2018, but there are likely to be some poor households in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), especially in the northwest lowlands.

  • Staple food prices decreased slightly in November and are likely to drop further through January with the increased local supply. Due to the continued fragile macroeconomic situation, however, they are expected to remain above five-year averages. Maize prices though may not ease significantly due to possible shortfalls from erratic rainfall and the ongoing Fall Armyworm (FAW) infestation. 

  • According to IOM, the number of IDPs continues to decrease, by nearly 2,000 a month, due to improving security and livelihoods options in their areas of origin. In addition, UNICEF recently reported that Burundian refugees continue to return from Tanzania at a rate of about 3,500 per month. WFP still faces funding shortfalls, and further food ration reductions are likely for the estimated 36,000 DRC refugees living in camps in Burundi, who would face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in the absence of assistance.

ZONE

CURRENT ANOMALIES

PROJECTED ANOMALIES

National

·    A depreciating national currency, shortage of foreign exchange reserves, and trade restrictions with neighboring countries continue to limit Burundi’s capacity to import food, keeping staple food prices above five-year average levels.

·    The political crisis that has contributed to macroeconomic difficulties is likely to continue since the peace talks failed in early December. Higher prices of essential imported agricultural inputs and fuel are likely to put further pressure on food commodity prices through at least May.

Areas with late and erratic rainfall, particularly in northwestern Imbo Plains.

·    In Gihanga in Bubanza Province and Rugombo and Buganda communes of Cibitoke, mid-December rainfall was below-average at a critical growing period for maize. 

·    Maize production is likely to be below average in the northwestern Imbo Plains, but near-average beans, roots, and tuber yields are expected if rainfall continues through mid-January. These harvests will restore nearly depleted household stocks and be the main sources of food and income through April.

PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH MAY 2018

Initial Season A (September-December) harvests of beans, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, and peas have begun countrywide, improving poor household food availability and access. Consequently, demand for agricultural labor for harvesting has typically increased and is expected to continue through January, providing needed income for poor households. In areas like Gihanga Commune in Bubanza Province and Rugombo and Buganda communes in Cibitoke Province, where the rains and planting started late and rainfall was below average during mid-December, maize production is likely to be below normal. However, if the rains last until mid-January, near-normal bean, sweet potato, and banana production is likely. In the high production areas of Kirundo and Muyinga provinces, crops are progressing well and this food production is expected to compensate for the likely maize production shortfall at the national level. In addition, it is important to note that field informants estimate that sweet potato acreage expanded significantly this season due to better availability of vine cuttings for planting.

Fall Armyworm (FAW) continues to attack and target maize crops, particularly affecting lowland areas. According to FAO, only five of 19 provinces (Kayanza, Muramvya, Bururi, Rutana, and Cankuzo) have not reported a wide-spread infestation and control measures vary countrywide. In the Imbo Plains of Cibitoke and Bubanza provinces, anecdotal estimates from field-based informants suggest that approximately 30-40 percent of maize fields have been attacked. In other areas, including the Northern Lowlands zone of Kirundo and in Muyinga Province, the infestation on maize crops has also been reportedly fairly significant.

Besides maize, staple food prices are expected to drop through January with the harvests but are likely to remain above five-year average levels, constraining poor household purchasing power. In Kirundo, bean prices already fell with the first harvests in December.  In February-March, land preparation is slated to begin for Season B, but given the below-average forecast for the February-May rains, demand for labor could be slightly below normal.

Despite the protracted political crisis, improvements in security and livelihood options has led to less displacement. According to IOM, the number of IDPs continues to decrease by nearly 2,000 a month, and UNICEF reports that Burundian refugees are returning from Tanzania at a rate of about 3,500 per month. Burundian refugee flows to Rwanda though still continue.

Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes for the majority of poor households are expected to persist through May 2018, but there is the possibility that some poor households may face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes during the peak of lean season in April 2018 in areas likely to experience two consecutive below-average seasons (2017B and 2018A), especially in low altitude areas of Cibitoke and Bubanza provinces. As they are completely dependent on food assistance from WFP, which is experiencing funding shortfalls, approximately 36,000 Congolese refugees living in camps in Burundi would face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the absence of assistance.

About Remote Monitoring

In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network 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 34 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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