National above-average 2021 A Season crop production improved food availability and access for most households in March. Improved food access from own crop production is supporting Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food security outcomes in most of the country. However, the Northern and Eastern Lowlands livelihood zones continue to experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes due to lost cross-border income earning opportunities with the COVID-19 related border closures, combined with localized below average 2021 A Season production following below-average rainfall in northern Burundi.
The delay of 2021 A harvest and the below-average rainfall observed during the first two dekads of March 2021 delayed 2021 B Season planting. Season B planting is typically complete by mid-March, though this year, it’s estimated that nationally, 30 percent of farmers are expected to complete planting in early April. Late sowing will be exposed to dry conditions during development, forecasted to begin in mid-May.
According to key informants, 2021 A maize, tuber, and banana crop production is above average, and bean production is below average. Maize prices, however, remain higher than normal as a result of fixed producer prices (680/kg) BIF by the government. To a lesser degree, additional upward pressure on maize prices is coming from the sanitary measure banning maize imports from Tanzania and Uganda for six months, which began in March. The price of maize in March 2021 was 22 above average and 11 percent above March 2020 levels. The impact of the maize import ban on availability is not expected to impact prices to a large degree as domestic production covers nearly 90 percent of annual needs, according to ISTEEBU data.
7,428 returnees who begun to receive three months of assistance in February are experiencing None! (IPC Phase 1!) food security outcomes. 40,000 IDPs in the Imbo Plains and 50,000 Congolese refugees were assisted with (120g of beans, 25g of oil and 5g of salt per person and per day) in March. However, 20,000 returnees who arrived between October and December have already exhausted their food assistance, have yet to harvest a season of crops, and have limited access to income sources will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes until May.