After a succession of reduced crops, the
output of the recently harvested 2001 A season crops is estimated to be
satisfactory. A recent locallyorganized FAO/WFP/UNICEF Assessment Mission
estimated food production at 85 000 tonnes of cereals, 68 000 tonnes of
pulses, 483 000 tonnes of roots and tubers and 465 000 tonnes of bananas
and plantains, which is 15 percent, 10 percent, 4 percent and 1 percent
respectively higher than in the 2000 A season. However, outputs remain
below the pre-crisis (1988-1993) average levels, due to insecurity and
disruption of agricultural production since 1993. The area planted increased
significantly this season reflecting relatively better security in western
parts, particularly in the provinces of Bubanza and Cibitoke, and the closure
of regroupment camps in Bujumbura Rural Province, which allowed farmers
to return to their fields. The other factor which contributed to higher
plantings this season was the timely seed distribution by the Government
and international agencies, mainly in Kirundo and Muyinga provinces, the
areas worst affected by drought during the 2000 A season.
Despite a late start of the rainy season, precipitation was abundant and well distributed from October to November benefiting crop development. However, excessive rains in parts resulted in floods and crop losses and, in general, reduced yields, particularly for beans. Yields of bananas and plantains are expected to increase only from March/April as trees were seriously affected by previous prolonged dry weather. The small 2000 C season harvest in the marshlands, from mid-June to September, was poor reflecting the dry weather in previous months. Food output was estimated 4 percent below the level of the 1999 C season.
The tight food situation has eased with the arrival of the new harvest. Nevertheless, following several consecutive below average harvests, persistent insecurity and population displacements, as well as a recent malaria epidemic, the food and nutrition situation of vulnerable groups remains precarious. In particular, the situation is difficult for 324 000 internally displaced people and for drought affected persons in the provinces of Karuzi, Gitega, Kayanza and Muyinga. A recent nutritional survey in 7 provinces of the country indicated a 10 percent rate of acute global malnutrition. Similarly, a recent report by MSF indicated that the number of malnourished children admitted to its therapeutic feeding centres in Karuzi province had doubled in January 2001. Emergency food aid continues to be necessary for the vulnerable sections of the population.