GIEWS Country Briefs: Burundi 09-January-2012

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Crop prospects for the 2012 A season are favourable following good rains in late 2011

Food prices persist at high levels

An estimated 10 percent of the population are categorised as food insecure

Favourable prospects for 2012 A season

In contrast to the previous year, rainfall levels have been favourable during the 2012 A season (September-December), benefiting crop development. Harvesting is currently underway and is expected to be finalised in February. However, the persistence of banana bacterial wilt in the provinces of Cankuzo, Bubanza, Muyinga, Makamba, Kirundo, Rutana, Mwaro and Gitega, as well as cassava mosaic and brown streak disease continue to impact production in the affected areas, with negative consequences for households’ food stocks and income opportunities. Production estimates are expected to be available in February 2012, and provided that favourable conditions continue through the harvest period, production is anticipated to be larger than 2011’s output.

Moderate production growth recorded in 2011

Aggregate cereal production in 2011 is estimated at about 311 000 tonnes, 2 percent higher than the previous year. Rainfall was generally satisfactory for the main 2011 B season, while an expansion in acreage further supported the good harvest. However, irregular and insufficient rains impacted productivity in eastern regions. In addition, northern areas, particularly Ngozi province, suffered from a period of sporadic heavy rains and hail between June and September, which caused damage to both the 2011 B and C crops.

Food prices persist at high levels

In Bujumbura, monthly rice and maize prices for October 2011 were 28 and 15 percent higher, respectively, than their levels in 2010 for the same month. Bean prices, on the other hand, were lower than last year. Tighter national supplies, as a result of limited import availabilities following imposition of an export ban in Tanzania (that was removed in late 2011), contributed to maintaining high domestic prices.

Low food stocks aggravate food insecurity in eastern areas

As a result of the poor production in some eastern regions, food stocks were depleted earlier than normal initiating a premature start of the lean season. Food availability and access were further eroded due to limited regional trade and higher prices. Nationally, an estimated 10 percent of the population are categorized as food insecure, with the provinces of Kayanza, Muyinga and Ngozi recording the highest rates of food insecurity. WFP assisted just under 300 000 persons during September and October 2011, while FAO provided households with seeds and agricultural equipment prior to the start of the 2012 A season.