Burundi Key Message Update, November 2017
Stressed outcomes persist due to constrained purchasing power
Poor rural households are relying heavily on taro roots, bananas, and vegetables that are harvested almost year-round to sustain their minimum food needs, amidst below-average labor incomes and constrained purchasing power. Most poor households are likely to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until May 2018, but localized poor households that experienced a below-average Season B harvest and potentially Season A are likely to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.
Besides the low altitude areas of Bubanza, Cibitoke, and Kirundo provinces where there was late and below-average rainfall that has affected maize development, Season A crops are growing normally. The Fall Armyworm (FAW) infestation, particularly in lowland areas, may also negatively impact maize production, but maize constitutes only about 14 percent of Season A national cereal production.
Staple food prices remain above five-year averages, driven largely by the country’s fragile macroeconomic situation. In Kirundo, from August to early November, there was a marked jump by about 20 percent in bean prices, which was a similar rise that occurred in November 2016. Bean prices are expected to ease slightly by the end of November ahead of the harvests, but maize prices are likely to remain high due to the FAW infestation.
According to UNHCR, since September, an average of 3,500 Burundian refugees have voluntarily returned on a monthly basis from Tanzania. Simultaneously, about 600 Burundians per month have sought asylum in Rwanda. The number of IDPs fell by about five percent from July to October. WFP is facing funding shortfalls that are affecting ration sizes for the approximately 36,000 DRC refugees living in camps. In the absence of assistance, these refugees face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.