FAO/GIEWS - Foodcrops & Shortages 1-2/00 - Burundi

The output of the recently harvested 2000 A season crops is estimated to be lower than last year's already reduced level. This reflects adverse weather during the growing season, coupled with deterioration in the security situation. Following an early start of the rains, a prolonged dry spell from mid-October to mid-November resulted in reductions in plantings and yields, particularly in the northern province of Kirundo. The displacement and regroupment in camps of large numbers of population, as a result of the escalation of the civil conflict, occurred immediately after the beginning of the rains, also contributing to the reduction in the area planted. Provinces most affected by insecurity were Rutana, Makamba and Bujumbura rural.
The output of cereals is estimated at 74 000 tonnes, a decline of 13 percent from last year and that of beans 17 percent down at 62 000 tonnes. Production of roots and tubers and of bananas and plantains declined by 3 percent and 1 percent to 464 000 tonnes and 450 000 tonnes respectively.

The overall food and nutritional situation continue to deteriorate following a succession of reduced harvests and the persistent population displacement. Food prices have increased sharply from a year ago, mainly that of beans, the crop most affected by the dry weather. It is estimated that some 1.6 million people have been seriously affected by a drought-reduced harvest this season. Food aid is being distributed to 60 000 families in the province of Kirundo. In addition, the situation of some 800 000 (12 percent of the population) in regroupment camps gives particular cause for concern. Living conditions in the camps are extremely poor. Only a limited number of people have access to their fields, while the rest are entirely dependent on food aid. A nutritional survey carried out in nine regroupment camps last December shows a global malnutrition rate of about 18 percent and severe malnutrition rates between 3 and 5 percent. WFP resumed its normal activities in the camps in mid-November, since the suspension of all UN operations in mid-October.