Near-average Season B crop production prospects help stabilize food prices
- Following severe Season A crop production deficits, particularly in Ruyigi, Cankuzo, Muyinga, and Kirundo communes, atypically high food prices and limited incomes have constrained food access, and the worst-affected poor households are likely facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through the lean season. There are some humanitarian assistance efforts ongoing to address these food gaps and the growing malaria outbreak. FEWS NET estimates that the majority of poor households in northeastern and eastern provinces are likely in Stressed (IPC Phase 2). With generally favorable cropping conditions to date, the June harvest is expected to be average, likely improving food availability.
- Staple food prices have continued to remain atypically high due to three main factors: the lower than average domestic production; the temporary ban of Tanzanian food commodity exports (beans, rice, cassava); and the depreciation of the national currency vis-a-vis the Tanzanian Shilling. Though prices remain above five-year averages, there was a slight stabilization in March, following the delayed harvest, and are likely to decrease further by May due to expectations for a normal Season B harvest.
- According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), about 14,000 Burundians sought asylum in February 2017, raising the total number of refugees in nearby countries to over 400,000 people. In addition, there are about 169,000 internally displaced people. According to UNHCR, approximately 7,275 people have spontaneously returned in recent months, a new trend which may continue as harvest prospects improve, and outflows to Tanzania may be curtailed following the Government of Tanzania’s announcement it will not automatically grant refugee status to new arrivals.