Special Report: FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to Burundi

Mission Highlights
About 11 percent of the population is still displaced in camps mainly in Bujumbura Rural, Bubanza and Makanba provinces. The majority of this population has a restricted access to land and was not able to cultivate normally during the 2000 B crop season.

Insufficient and badly distributed rains during the 2000 B season reduced yields of cereal and pulse crops. The outputs declined for the fourth consecutive season.

The northern provinces of Kirundo and Muyinga, and the Moso region, were the worst affected by severe dry weather.

The food supply is anticipated to be tight in the coming months. Food prices, which have increased considerably during 1999, remain at high levels.

There is serious concern for the food situation in the displaced persons camps and in the drought-affected provinces, where malnutrition rates are high.

Distribution of emergency food aid continues to be constrained by security conditions. WFP will assist approximately 700 000 displaced, drought-affected and most vulnerable people until the end of the year.

After expected commercial imports and emergency food aid, there is an uncovered deficit estimated at 21 000 tonnes of maize and 99 000 tonnes of pulses. Further international assistance is needed to avoid a deterioration of the nutritional situation of the whole population.


An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission visited Burundi from 19 to 30 June 2000 to evaluate the second 2000 B season, forecast the minor third 2000 C season, and estimate the country’s import and food aid requirements for 2000. The Mission had consultations with government officials and representatives of UN Agencies and NGOs, and visited 12 of the country’s 17 provinces where security conditions permitted. Prior to the Mission’s arrival, a survey was undertaken in December 1999 by national agricultural officers with logistic and technical assistance from FAO and WFP. The results of this evaluation formed the basis of the Mission’s assessment of the first 2000 A season production.

Insecurity continues to disrupt economic and agricultural activities. However, the Mission noticed a relative general improvement since the end of 1999, with the number of people in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps decreasing from 821 000 people, or 13 percent of the total population, to 704 000, or 11 percent, by mid-2000. The worst affected provinces are Bujumbura Rural with 58 percent of its population displaced, followed by Bubanza with 39 percent, Makamba with 33 percent and Bururi with 21 percent. Violent incidents escalated in June 2000, following the visit of mediator Nelson Mandela, particularly in the eastern parts of the country and in the provinces close to Tanzania.

The Mission found that overall, rainfall during the 2000 B season was badly distributed with a premature cessation of precipitation in April. This affected the normal crop development and reduced considerably yields of pulses and cereals. The 2000 B season foodcrops production is estimated at about 1.7 million tonnes, representing a 3 percent decrease from both last year’s B season and the past five-year average. Pulses and cereals experienced declines of 20 percent and 6 percent respectively. Root and tubers remained virtually unchanged from 1999.

Forecasting the 2000 C crop season, currently being planted, is difficult at this early stage. Assuming normal weather conditions in the coming months, production is projected at average levels. Plantings of pulses are expected to increase following the reduced 2000 A and B seasons crops

On this basis, the Mission provisionally forecasts total food production for 2000 at 3 472 000 tonnes, only slightly lower than the level of last year, but below the average of both the past five-year and the pre-crisis (1988-1993) period.

With a mid-2000 population estimate of 6.65 million, and an apparent per caput consumption derived from the relatively reduced quantities available between 1994 and 1996, import requirements in 2000 are estimated at 106 000 tonnes of cereals and 150 000 tonnes of pulses. Commercial imports are anticipated at an increased level of 50 000 tonnes of cereals and 40 000 tonnes of pulses respectively, leaving food aid requirements of 56 000 tonnes of cereals and 110 000 tonnes of pulses. Another 58 000 tonnes of cereals would be needed to cover the deficit in root and tubers and bananas/plantains. While these requirements are well in excess of realistic possibilities they put in evidence that production of food staples has failed to keep pace with the growth in population.

As of 30 June 2000, emergency food aid distributed by WFP to the most severely affected population was only 55 percent of the estimated requirements for the first half of the year due to security and resource constraints. With planned distributions until the end of the year, emergency food aid assistance in 2000 will amount to 35 000 tonnes of cereals and 11 000 tonnes of pulses. The uncovered deficit of grains is therefore in the order of 21 000 tonnes of maize and 99 000 tonnes of pulses and that of root/tubers and bananas/plantains (in cereal equivalent) of 58 000 tonnes. A further reduction in per caput consumption and deterioration in nutritional status is anticipated.

The outflow of unknown quantities of foodstuffs to neighbouring countries (especially Rwanda), owing in part to currency exchange factors, has also contributed to reduce food availability. Food prices, that rose sharply in 1999, remained high in the first months of 2000 and are on the increase. The high level of prices will further restrict access to food for large sections of the population with insufficient resources, aggravating their nutritional and health status in the coming months. The most vulnerable groups include: (i) people still living in camps without access to land, (ii) people recently returned to their farms, who were unable to cultivate in the 2000 B season; (iii) people affected by insecurity; (iv) people affected by a poor 2000 B harvest, (v) the poorest groups, because of insufficient resources and reduced employment opportunities. The food and nutritional situation of these groups give cause for serious concern


2.1 Security Conditions and Population Movements

The deteriorating security situation in Burundi, with an escalation of violence in rural areas, resulted in large-scale population displacement in the second half of 1999. Intensified fighting between Government forces and rebels in several areas during September and October caused loss of civilian lives, including the death of two UN international humanitarian workers, and the internal displacement of an estimated 350 000 people who were regrouped into camps by the Government. The newly displaced added to an estimated 500 000 people who were already in 300 IDP sites away from their homes. By the end of 1999 it was estimated that 821 000 people, or more than 13 percent of the total population, were living in camps. However, with a slight improvement of the situation, by the end of June 2000 the number decreased to 704 000 people in 328 sites, representing 11 percent of the total population.

Table 1: Burundi - Estimated Number of People Living in Camps 1/

Population of the province
Number of sites
Total population in the sites
% of total population
299 051
117 440
Bujumbura mairie
330 142
Bujumbura rural
436 894
252 469
446 583
91 811
177 090
401 166
639 560
15 067
366 682
2 621
485 187
21 539
517 627
3 583
377 008
125 517
256 509
35 610
502 255
17 639
232 340
619 630
7 877
252 452
10 800
314 590
1 380
6 654 766
703 787

1/ As at 16/06/2000. The number of people living in camps changes on a regular basis
depending upon security conditions. The estimate of total population is based on the
results of the last Census in 1990, updated with UNPFA data for mid-2000.

The food and health situation of the displaced populations is extremely serious. Living conditions in these sites are poor, with no clean water, shelter and sanitary facilities. The access to land of these populations is restricted as they cannot work normally because of the long distance to reach the fields and the threat of thefts. While plots around the camps have been distributed by the local authorities, they are, nonetheless, of a limited size and their production alone would be inadequate to meet the needs of the camp population.

Destruction and lack of maintenance of the social infrastructure has had a devastating impact on the provision of basic social services, resulting in a diminished access to clean water and a substantially deteriorated state of health, as well as decreased opportunities for education. Opportunities to earn minimum life-sustaining revenue are increasingly rare, both in the private and the public sectors of the swiftly deteriorating national economy.

On the positive side, the peace negotiations have recently made substantial progress resulting in hope and optimism that a peace accord will be reached within this year. The signature and implementation of a peace accord is likely to trigger a movement of return among the displaced population. If security allows, the return of an expected 1.2 million refugees and displaced citizens, could even commence prior to the signature of an agreement. However, the current context in the country is neither favourable to socio-economic development nor to the reintegration of populations. An urgent intervention is indispensable to prepare the society and increase its capacity to receive the internal and external returnees both materially and morally.

The crisis since 1993 has mainly affected the most vulnerable strata of the society, in particular children, women and the sick. Some of the human cost caused by the persistent civil strife is reflected in the indicators of Table 2 below.

Table 2: Burundi - Selected Human Development Indicators, 1993-1998

Infant mortality/1000 births
Maternal mortality per 100 000
800 (1997)
Prenatal consultations (percent)
67 (1997)
Immunization coverage measles (percent)
Contraceptive coverage (percent)
Malnutrition children < 5 (percent)
GNP per capita
External assistance
Life expectancy at birth

2.2 Economic Situation

The severe disruptions to agriculture brought about by displacement/regroupment and other population movements have had and continue to have a strong adverse impact on rural livelihoods and it is estimated that, should peace be established, it would take several years to restore the agricultural sector to pre-crisis levels.

Burundi has also been experiencing fuel shortages since early March, only partly attributed to the rise in international fuel prices. Prices rose by more than 20 percent in mid-March, from Burundian Franc (FBU) 470/litre to FBU 570/litre, contributing to increase the inflation rate in all sectors of the economy. Owing to a decline in the terms of trade and lack of external assistance, foreign reserves had declined to US$48 million by the end of 1999 reducing import coverage to less than two months.

Although foreign assistance may resume gradually this year, economic recovery will remain modest. Foreign aid to Burundi totalled just FBU 17 bn in 1999, down from a high of FBU 230 bn (US$947 million) in 1993. The real GDP growth in 2000 is forecast at only 2 percent, or below the population growth rate.

The World Bank has approved a US$20 million programme of assistance in April 2000, while the IMF has proposed continuing the policy dialogue which, if successful, will lead to a new programme of assistance.


3.1 2000 A season Production

The 2000 A crop season, harvested in January 2000, showed a slight decrease in planted areas compared to the 1999 A crop season, due to the combined effects of drought (East, North East and West parts of the country) and insecurity in the province of Rutana and Rural Bujumbura. There was also a general decrease in yields due to a dry spell during the critical phase of the crop development, particularly for beans and maize.

Total food production was estimated at 1 061 000 tonnes (Table 3), a 4 percent fall on the estimate for the 1999 A crop season (1 104 000 tonnes). Sharpest declines were experienced by pulses and cereals, of 16 percent and 13 percent respectively.

Table 3: Burundi - Estimated Food Production in 2000 A Season by Crop (‘000 tonnes)

1999 A2000 A2000 A/1999 A (%)
Roots and Tubers
Bananas and Plantains
1 1041 061-4

3.2 2000 B Season Production

3.2.1 Planted Areas

Most of the people who left the IDP camps in the first half of 2000 reached their fields too late for planting of the B crop season and could not contribute much to increase the planted areas. In the most productive northern and central-eastern provinces, rains started earlier in December and January but diminished considerably in February, the normal planting period. Rains resumed a month later, in the second half of March. Although some farmers took advantage of the earlier rains, in general, the dry weather in February resulted in a reduction in plantings. Elsewhere, rains started on time or earlier in December. A general shortage of seeds, especially for beans and potatoes, as a consequence of bad harvests in the 2000 A crop season also limited the cultivated areas. Humanitarian organizations provided assistance in delivery of bean seeds (3 000 tonnes) and small tools (80 000 hoes) to 350 000 families. Beans and maize experienced the greatest declines in plantings. By contrast, there was an increase in the area planted to long-cycle sorghum, normally planted in December. Sowings of root and tubers and bananas and plantains did not suffer variations, except for Irish potatoes which were affected by seed shortages.

3.2.2 Yields

In general, rains in March and April were well below average and stopped prematurely at the end of April instead of May. As a result, only those cereal and pulses crops planted earlier in December/January provided a normal output. By contrast, a large part of the crops planted in March could not reach maturity and severe yield reductions were experienced. In addition the quantities of fertilizers and improved seeds used (beans and potatoes particularly) were less than last year. There is an increasing financial constraint for the access to fertilizers at farm level. For example, DAP was sold at 410 FBU/kg this season compared to 310 FBU/kg last year.

Compared to the 1999 B crop season, yields of pulses and cereals declined but those for more resistant roots and tubers, and bananas remained around the level of last year's same season.

3.2.3 2000 B Season Production

Although the number of people in farming areas of all provinces was greater in 2000 B season than in 1999 B season, a significant number of population could not cultivate under normal conditions due to insecurity. This coupled with the effects of adverse weather conditions prevented a normal grain production. Cereal production, at 152 000 tonnes, decreased 6 percent from the level of the 1999 B crop season, which was already 10 percent lower than in 1998. Output of pulses, at 126 000 tonnes, was 20 percent lower than in the previous season and 31 percent below average. By contrast, production of roots and tubers rose by 4 percent, reflecting diversion of land from grains following successive seasons affected by erratic weather, as well as extensive distribution of sweet potatoes cuttings. Bananas and plantains remain at almost the same level of 1999 B season.

Table 4 - Burundi - Estimated 2000 B Season Foodcrop by Commodity (tonnes)

Buja Rural
1 475
2 224
1 508
1 391
2 109
5 210
1 229
3 415
4 127
23 786
2 080
7 034
1 797
5 287
2 503
3 674
9 213
1 083
4 575
7 868
4 431
5 213
5 270
60 980
20 858
9 629
4 150
4 190
2 780
2 206
3 465
1 013
51 678
1 068
1 433
1 249
1 861
6 097
1 562
1 513
1 722
1 368
9 465
42 540
48 438
26 841
12 138
50 788
43 001
12 779
72 471
87 611
13 764
20 055
88 252
80 973
25 628
32 752
658 031
2 242
2 053
3 576
4 227
2 987
17 456
10 235
12 191
13 738
1 729
13 168
12 354
1 530
2 224
6 091
105 801
Sweet potato
3 979
14 669
4 839
2 241
95 832
32 976
53 192
39 344
2 308
69 564
25 256
75 166
3 633
2 697
426 551
5 045
3 563
1 285
2 104
2 581
1 431
2 032
2 505
1 299
2 114
1 099
26 727
2 911
5 056
1 527
3 124
1 073
1 208
1 175
2 106
20 606
Irish potato
2 800
2 794
6 773
15 640
17 628
15 338
19 513
28 134
39 880
11 855
18 984
15 900
10 230
15 286
25 078
24 710
17 287
15 055
290 517
2 884
2 406
5 909
89 169
90 903
73 372
50 798
97 718
215 106
76 307
167 595
177 172
32 572
133 183
165 683
199 473
58 531
65 338
1 692 921

Table 5: Burundi: Estimated Food Production in 2000 B Season by Crops (‘000 tonnes)


2000 B/1999 B
2000 B as % of average

1999 B

2000 B
152- 6- 10
126- 20- 31
757- 0.34
658- 0.8- 2
1 745
1 740
1 693- 3- 3

3.2.4 Prospects for 2000 C Season

The output of the C season, from July to September, represents some 17 percent of the annual food production and generally provides the seed for the next A season. It is too early to forecast the output of this season but, assuming normal agro-climatological conditions, the Mission projects production of the 2000 C season at normal levels. Taking into account the decrease in 2000 A and B production of pulses, it is expected that farmers will tend to increase plantings of beans in the C season.

3.3 Total 2000 Food Production

Total food production in 2000 is provisionally forecast at 3.47 million tonnes. This is only 1 percent less than in the previous year but it is lower than both the past five-year and the pre-crisis (1988-1993) averages. This mainly reflects a reduction in plantings due to population displacements, adverse weather conditions during the growing seasons and shortage of inputs (or financial constraint to access). Pulses (particularly beans) and cereals declined by 14 and 5 percent respectively from the level of 1999.

Table 6: Burundi - 2000 Food Production by Season and Crop (‘000 tonnes)


Production 2000
2000 as % of average
2000 A
2000 B
2000 C
1 427
1 479
2591 48140
1 544
1 512
3991 516- 20
3 566
3 515
1 061
1 693
7183 472- 3- 1


4.1 Bubanza

Although security conditions have improved since the previous year, 117 440 people remain in the IDP camps or 39 percent of the province population.

As a consequence of irregular rains, the 2000 B bean production is estimated to have decreased 20 percent from the level of the 1999 B season, while that of rice is estimated 10 percent lower. Other crop output remained unchanged, leading to a total decline of 5 percent in food production of this season. Livestock is subject to numerous thefts. The number of small ruminants remains low due to animal diseases, which have not yet completely identified.

4.2 Bururi

The security situation has improved in all the "communes" of the province, but some 21percent of the population is still in IDP camps.

Due to favourable weather conditions and increased planted areas, food production in the 2000 B season will be slightly above that of the 1999 B season. The livestock sector is improving in terms of increased numbers of heads and better animal sanitation.

4.3 Cankuzo

There are two distinct agroecological zones in the province: Moso and Buyogoma. Drought during this season mainly affected crops in the Moso, where agricultural production is estimated 50 percent below last year's B season.

The province, which had not experienced insecurity since the events of October 1993, has recently witnessed some movements of population towards Tanzania, looking for food.

4.4 Cibitoke

The restored security in much of the province, coupled with agricultural inputs distribution to the affected populations by the humanitarian agencies, has resulted in an increased 2000 B production of cassava (10 percent), sweet potato (3 percent), banana (2 percent) and rice (20 percent).

There has been a general improvement in the nutritional status of the population in the past years following better security conditions, access to seeds and attendance at Nutrition Centres.

4.5 Gitega

Weather conditions were poor during the 2000 B season with a decrease of 50 percent in the amount of rains at the beginning of the season compared to the long -term average level (1961-1990). Only earlier sowings gave a production for beans. Fertilizers came late. Their price rose from 280 FBU to 410 FBU and most of the farmers could not afford to buy them in sufficient quantities. Overall, a 10 percent decrease in beans production of the 2000 B season is expected.

Nutritional surveys undertaken by NGOs (OXFAM and Save the Children Fund) show a rate of malnutrition of 7 percent among the children, close to the level before the political crisis. Typical vulnerable groups are essentially linked to the lack of access to land or too small holdings for providing food to the family.

4.6 Karuzi

The security situation has improved progressively since 1997 so that most of the displaced persons have returned to their farms.

The 2000 B food production was higher than in the 1999 B season as a result of a better distribution of rainfall. In addition to reaching self-sufficiency, the province exports cassava and maize toward Muyinga, rice and beans toward Gitega, and cassava towards Ngozi. After a quasi-complete loss, the number of livestock is progressively increasing with the assistance of NGOs and FAO. Cows, sheep and goats and poultry are being provided.

Following a sharp rise in 1999, food prices are now falling. The banana "regime" which was quoted at 1500/ 2000 FBU last year costs now 700 FBU on average.

4.7 Kayanza

The security situation has remained good throughout the 2000 A and B seasons except, in the "communes" of Muruta, Matongo and Kabarora.

The first sowings of beans in January, which account for some 70 percent of the area, resulted in good harvests; however, those in February were almost completely lost because of irregular rains.

Food prices have fallen compared to 1999 B season. Thus beans, which were quoted at 320 FBU/kg in 1999 B season, are now at 220 FBU/kg.

Livestock numbers are increasing, particularly cattle and small ruminants.

4.8 Kirundo

Stable security in all the "communes" of the province encouraged dispersed people to return to their farms. However, weather conditions were poor in the 2000 B growing season. Rains came earlier in December and January but diminished considerably by February, the normal planting period. They resumed in the second half of March but stopped prematurely at the end of April. Only the sowings made in December-January provided satisfactory harvests. The "communes" of Busoni and Bugabera were the most affected by drought.

Food prices are on the increase as a result of the tight supply situation, but also the general inflation in the country.

About 350 000 people are estimated to face severe food shortages following a succession of poor harvests. Population movements to other regions in search of food are already reported.

4.9 Makamba

The security conditions are still precarious in the communes of Kayogoro, Kibago, Mabanda and Nyanza-lac. The population living in IDP camps by mid-June 2000 is estimated at 125 517, or one third of the total.

There were shortages of sweet potatoes and rice seeds during the 2000 B season. Rains stopped in April and only early sowings yielded good crops. Overall, food production of the 2000 B season is estimated 5 percent lower than in the 1999 B season.

Livestock thefts by rebels groups are reported, particularly in the communes of Kayogoro, Kibago and Mabanda.

Malnutrition is frequent in the vulnerable groups (women, children and those lacking access to land). The state of health is clearly deteriorating among the affected population, with an upsurge in dysentery and typhus.

4.10 Muyinga

Security conditions have remained good throughout the 2000 A and B seasons. The displaced populations in the camps were able to cultivate their own fields and receive assistance from humanitarian agencies.

The 2000 B season started in February, but there was a dry spell during two weeks in March. This, coupled with shortages of bean seeds, resulted in a reduced foodcrops harvest. The late sowings in March-April (about 30 percent of the area planted) completely failed.

Except for rice, food prices have increased sharply in local markets. At the time of the Mission, sweet potatoes reached 150 FBU/kg against 70 FBU at the same period last year. Cassava flour is sold at 350 FBU/kg against 240 FBU in June 1999.

Nutritional problems are reported on the increase, especially in the communes of Gashogo, Muyinga, Mirwa and Cucuma.

4.11 Ngozi

Good security conditions during the 2000 A and B seasons have enabled farmers to resume their agricultural activities.

After the first rainfalls in January, a period of drought was observed in February. Rains resumed in March and April, and stopped normally in May. Foodcrops output is estimated to be at the same level of the 1999 B season.

Food prices have decreased with the new harvest. Prices of beans fell from 470 FBU (1999 B) to 350 FBU (2000 B).

Livestock heads are increasing due to NGOs and FAO combined activities in herd restocking and improvement of animal health conditions.

The nutritional situation of the population is stable, with a reported malnutrition rate close to 13 percent.

4.12 Ruyigi

Close to the border with Tanzania, Ruyigi had security problems both in the 2000 A and B seasons, particularly in the Moso region and the communes of Kinyinga, Nyabistinda and Gisuru. Half of the households among these communes had to leave their farm and find asylum in other communes (mainly Rutana and Cankuzo) or in Tanzania.

Climatic conditions were unfavourable for all crops in the Moso, but in Buyogoma the first sowings of beans (about 70 percent) resulted in a good output. On the contrary, sowings at the beginning of March were completely lost.

Food stocks are reported at low levels among farmers, as well as merchants, following thefts by rebels groups.

Livestock numbers were increasing until 1999, but the province is now losing its cattle and small ruminants, which are sold into neighbouring Tanzania.


5.1 Food Prices and Access to Food

Following a succession of reduced harvests, the overall food supply situation is extremely tight. Despite the continuos growth in population, food production remains below the 1988-1993 pre-civil conflict average level. The country, which was virtually self-sufficient before the crisis, has attained an unprecedented high food deficit in 2000.

Table 7 presents price changes for the main food products in Bujumbura central market. Food prices rose sharply during 1999 and by January 2000 were substantially above their January 1999 level. This reflects the reduced harvests, but also high demand from neighbouring countries and the disruption of the marketing network due to increased cost of petrol and general insecurity.

By May 2000 prices had, overall, stabilized at the high levels of the beginning of the year and were well above the 1999 inflation level of 30 percent. Only in the case of beans the price increase was less than the inflation level, reflecting considerable cross-border imports from neighbouring Tanzania. By contrast, price of rice, for which there is no informal trade, rose sharply due to low levels of imports associated with the lack of foreign exchange. Price of sweet potatoes, which are bulky and expensive to transport, showed a particular steep hike by the first quarter of 2000.

Table 7: Burundi - Prices of Selected Food Products in Bujumbura Market (FBU/kg)

January 1996
January 1999
January 2000
May 2000
Cassava flour
Sweet potatoes

While formal price series is not available at provincial levels, the Mission observed that by June 2000 food prices were on the increase in the provinces affected by insecurity or reduced harvest. Food prices, however, vary considerably from one province to another as a result of lack of market integration, aggravated by persistent insecurity in several parts of the country.

It is expected that a World Bank credit for foreign exchange, amounting to US$35 million, will facilitate food imports and at the same time reinforce the value of the Burundian Franc, thus rendering food export to neighbouring countries less attractive.

With the escalation in prices, purchasing an adequate amount of foodstuff is now beyond the reach of the majority of the population. This has aggravated a food situation that has been precarious since 1994, owing to the combined effects of the political crisis and adverse weather conditions. The most vulnerable groups include: (i) people still living in camps without access to land, (ii) people recently returned to their farms, who were unable to cultivate crops in the 2000 B season; (iii) people affected by insecurity, especially in Bujumbura Rural, Bubanza, Makamba, and Bururi, (iv) people affected by a poor 2000 B harvest, particularly in northern provinces; (v) the poorest groups, because of insufficient resources (mainly land) and reduced employment opportunities. The nutritional situation of these groups continues to give cause for concern.

5.2 Food Supply and Demand Balance (January-December 2000)

Table 8 shows the projected 2000 supply and demand situation for cereals, pulses, roots and tubers, and bananas.

Total food production in 2000 includes estimates of the first and second seasons and a forecast of the minor third season. The aggregate food production for 2000 is estimated at 251 000 tonnes of cereals, 224 000 tonnes of pulses, 1 481 000 tonnes of roots and tubers, and 1 516 000 tonnes of bananas.

As a result of poor harvests in previous seasons and general insecurity conditions, stocks within the country are estimated to be negligible.

Food requirements have been assessed on the basis of a population of 6 654 766 in mid-2000 and an average per caput consumption of 47 kg of cereals, 52 kg of pulses, 230 kg of roots and tubers, and 264 kg of bananas and plantains. Cereal and pulse requirements are based on the apparent consumption for the 1994-1996 period and are some 6 percent lower than pre-crisis consumption.

Estimates of post-harvest losses, animal feed, seed and other uses are based on calculations made by FAO projects in the country. In the case of pulses and cereals, they amount to 18 and 13 percent respectively of total production. In the case of roots and tubers and bananas, about 10 percent of total production is used for non-food purposes.

The food shortfall derived from the supply and demand balance amounts to 106 000 tonnes of cereals, 150 000 tonnes of pulses, 197 000 tonnes of roots and tubers, and 392 000 tonnes of bananas and plantains. The food deficit in roots and tubers has been converted into cereals, since roots and tubers are expensive to import as they are bulky and perishable in their raw form. Over two-thirds of the bananas produced are consumed as banana beer, and it is therefore hard to replace them by cereals in household food baskets. However, the small percentage of bananas consumed cooked or as a fruit, with a higher calorie content, has been converted into cereal equivalent. In converting root, tuber and banana deficits, the Mission felt it unlikely that consumers would fully substitute them with cereals, but that other foods would be used to offset part of the shortfall. The Mission therefore converted only 50 percent of the deficit into cereal equivalent.

As a result of the World Bank foreign exchange credit of US$35 million, the private sector is already in a position to buy in auction US$15 million. This is expected to facilitate food imports. As a consequence, commercial imports have been estimated at an increased level of 50 000 tonnes of cereals and 40 000 tonnes of pulses.

After commercial imports, total food aid requirements for 2000 amount to 56 000 tonnes of cereals equivalent and 110 000 tonnes of pulses. Considering logistics and resources constraints, emergency food aid to be distributed by WFP to the most vulnerable sections of the population during 2000 is projected at 35 000 tonnes of cereals and 11 000 tonnes of pulses. This leaves an uncovered deficit of 21 000 tonnes of cereals and 99 000 tonnes of pulses that would be needed in other forms of food assistance to avoid further deterioration in the nutritional situation of the whole population. Another 58 000 tonnes (cereal equivalent) would be needed to cover the deficit in root and tubers and bananas/plantains.

Table 8: Burundi - Food Supply and Demand Balance Sheet for 2000 (‘000 tonnes)

Roots & Tubers
Bananas & Plantains
A. Total Availability
1 481
1 516
2000 Production
1 481
1 516
- Season 2000 A
- Season 2000 B
- Season 2000 C
B. Total Utilization
1 678
1 908
Food Use
1 530
1 756
Seed, Feed and Other Uses
C. Import Requirements/Deficit
Commercial Imports
Food Aid Requirements
- planned emergency food aid
Uncovered deficit (in cereal equivalent)

5.3 Emergency Food Assistance

During 1999, WFP provided close to 40 000 tonnes to over 370 000 persons. This amount, which was delivered under the relief and recovery operation, was approximately 30 percent higher than planned, due to increased emergency food requirements after September 1999. The increased needs resulted from the regroupment of 350 000 people in Bujumbura Rural province in September, and a simultaneous deterioration in the food security situation of approximately 331 000 drought-affected households (1.9 million people), with the worst-affected in the eastern and north-eastern provinces of Kirundo, Muyinga and Cankuzo and in Bujumbura Rural.

WFP currently provides food assistance to displaced persons unable to meet their basic food needs, those afflicted by drought or food insecurity and those vulnerable groups with special needs (e.g. unaccompanied children, the elderly, the handicapped). In addition, there is a regular distribution to the refugees in the camps in Tanzania, which are provided for under WFP’s regional Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation. In the event of their return to Burundi, reallocations will be made from the Tanzania programme to the Burundi programme to cater for a part of the needs. It should, however, be underlined that there is already a shortage in the pipeline for the distribution of food to the refugees in Tanzania.

Food aid is also provided as a temporary assistance to bridge the needs following the immediate return of the internally and externally displaced until the next harvest. The period of the distribution of food-aid depends, thus, on the proximity of the planting season and the availability of land for planting.

During 2000, WFP planned to provide a total of 77 000 tonnes to over 500 000 Burundians, or almost double the 1999 levels of intervention. However, during the period January-June 2000, the organization was able to deliver only some 55 percent of the planned food aid, that is an actual delivery of 21 102 tonnes against a plan of 38 348 tonnes. This resulted largely from shortfalls in resources, lack of access due to insecurity and other logistical constraints. In the second half of the year, WFP plans to assist approximately 700 000 people. The duration of the assistance varies according to individually assessed needs from 15 days to 6 months. Overall, from January-December 2000, the population receiving food aid will average some 538 000 per month. (Tables 9 and 10).

Table 9: Burundi - WFP Projected Deliveries for 2000

Project Type
Monthly average number of beneficiaries
Quantity of food assistance (tonnes)
Relief and recovery
552 656
50 776
Vulnerable groups in social centres
21 126
2 216
537 782
52 992

Table 10: Burundi - WFP Projected Deliveries by Commodity 2000

34 845
10 454
2 547
Corn-Soya Blend
4 217
Dried Skimmed Milk
52 992

5.4 Nutritional Situation

To obtain an overview of the nutritional situation, the mission relied on non-governmental organizations working in the various provinces. While aspects of the nutritional situation are presented, recognition is made of the need for a comprehensive and standardized nutritional assessment nation-wide.

Increasing numbers of women-headed and child headed households are associated with rising levels of malnutrition. As a result of the protracted conflict, which has seen the death or departure of male members of households, Burundi’s population currently comprises approximately 60 percent females and 40 percent males. In Kayanza province, 25 percent of households surveyed by Action contre la faim - France (ACF-F) were female-headed, while in Ruyigi province, about 8 percent of all households are female- or child-headed. Current land laws prohibit women from land ownership, but allow them usufruct rights to land owned by male family members. The absence of male family members therefore directly impacts on such households’ access to land, and ensuing ability to produce and access food.

In Bujumbura Rural, the limited of access to fields, loss of crops due to looting, insufficient pipeline, low vaccination coverage and outbreaks of disease have resulted in rising rates of malnutrition. The prohibition of fishing in Lake Tanganyika, which constituted an important source of revenue for about 10,000 people, has further exacerbated the situation. Adult malnutrition amongst regrouped populations is on the rise, as nutritional centres are largely saturated with children and pregnant and lactating women, who receive priority assistance.

In general, while the nutritional situation around the country varies from province to province, in drought-affected provinces of Kirundo, Muyinga and Cankuzo, malnutrition increased from October 1999 and peaked in April 2000, prior to harvesting of the season B crop. In Muyinga province, International Medical Crops recorded malnutrition levels among women and children of 16.4 percent, 20.4 percent and 29.0 percent in October 1999, January 2000 and April 2000 respectively, before reductions in May and June. The evolution of malnutrition in these provinces for the rest of the year, will largely depend on the 2000 season C crop, whose prognosis, as indicated above, is currently mixed.

In provinces with high levels of insecurity, some households are permanent victims of robberies after the harvest period, for example in Bubanza and Cibitoke provinces (bordering the Kibira forest) and parts of Kayanza and Rutana provinces. Populations therefore, sell their food stocks immediately after the harvest in order to avoid attacks and robberies. As these populations are highly reliant on the markets, rising prices, due to insecurity or the drought situation, or breaks in their market access impact negatively on their nutritional situation.

5.5 Repatriation and Reinstallation

In the case of a spontaneous movement the returning population will be in need of a nutritional intake while on the move. WFP will distribute on a needs-basis a basic ration of high-energy biscuits to alleviate the immediate needs, in particular of vulnerable persons such as the sick, children and pregnant women.

With regards to the refugees, upon arrival to their communes of origin WFP will distribute an initial food package that will cover their energy requirements for three months. It is a standard food basket which consists of 30 kg cereals, 20 kg pulses and 1 kg oil per person. In the case of an organized repatriation the same food-package will be distributed in the transit centres at the main entry points.

Assistance currently provided by WFP to vulnerable IDPs will continue whether they remain displaced or return to their hills of origin and will be based on actual food needs identified through WFP assessments. For some IDPs, particularly those who currently have access to their original land, the agricultural and food security implications of a return are unlikely to be significant. WFP will, therefore, not provide systematically a return package to all returning IDPs. Their eligibility and need assistance will rather be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Table 11: Burundi - Emergency Food Aid for 3-Month Food-Packages for 350 000 Returnees

Kg/ person
Total MT
1 167
10 500
7 000
2 065
17 850

While reallocation from WFP Tanzania’s programme would cover a portion of the immediate food needs, WFP considers that the provision of return packages to all returning refugees could only be assured if a contingency stock was situation in the region. Donors are urged to support the contingency reserve, already part of WFP’s regional Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation, which would allow for approximately 20 000 metric tonnes to be pre-positioned in Uganda and Tanzania. This would guarantee a rapid and appropriate response to food needs in the first three months following the return.

This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required.

Abdur Rashid
Telex 610181 FAO I
Fax: 0039-06-5705-4495

Mohamed Zejjari
Regional Director, OSA, WFP
Telex: 626675 WFP 1
Fax: 0039-06-6513-2839
E-Mail: Mohamed.Zejjari@WFP.ORG