Food stocks from above-average 2021 B Season crop production, coupled with stable food prices are supporting Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes across most of Burundi in September (FSMS, August 2021). In the Eastern Lowlands livelihood zone, the Tanzanian border closure continues to reduce income earning opportunities from cross border labor activities as households’ dependence on market purchases increases with the onset of the lean season. As a result, household purchasing power will reduce with Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are anticipated throughout the outlook period in the Eastern Lowlands livelihood zone.
A resurgence of COVID-19 cases has been reported since the end of July 2021, some weeks after the confirmation of the Delta variant in Burundi. Active cases on 26 September increased 47 and 168 percent compared to 26 August and 26 July, respectively. The increase in COVID-19 cases is expected to delay the re-opening of the Tanzanian and Rwandan borders, maintaining below-average income sources for poor and very poor households in the Eastern and Northern livelihood zones relying on cross-border labor opportunities.
Above-average 2021 B Season crop production drove staple food price stability in August for cereals (maize and rice) and legumes (beans). Cereal prices are stable compared to last year and average. Bean prices decreased 15 percent compared to last year and increased slightly compared to the average. However, tuber (cassava and sweet potato) prices increased between 15 and 30 percent compared to last year and the average.
Since September 2017, UNHCR facilitated the return of around 174,990 individuals, 75 percent of which arrived from Tanzania and are largely hosted in the Eastern Lowlands livelihood zone. Upon arrival, returnees receive three months of assistance, around 20,000 returnees who came between July and September still have food assistance stocks, driving None! (IPC Phase 1!) outcomes. None! IPC Phase 1! outcomes are also observed for 50,000 DRC refugees hosted in camps within Burundi. However, around 52,000 returnees who arrived between December 2020 and June 2021 have already exhausted their 90 days of assistance and are expected to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food outcomes in September.