Rwanda + 2 more

GIEWS Country Brief: Rwanda 16-January-2020




  • Above‑average “2020A” season cereal production expected due to abundant precipitation

  • Torrential rains triggered floods and landslides in some northern and western areas in December, damaging local livelihoods

  • Above‑average aggregate cereal production obtained in 2019 due to favourable weather conditions

  • Prices of maize were very high in November, mainly due to reduced imports from Uganda following the closure of border custom posts

  • Food security conditions are generally favourable

Above‑average “2020A” season cereal production expected due to abundant rains

The “2020A” season harvest is underway and will be concluded in February. The September‑December 2019 “short rainy season” was characterized by exceptionally abundant precipitation, with cumulative seasonal rains estimated at 50‑100 percent above the long‑term average over most cropping areas. The heavy precipitation had a positive impact on crop establishment and development, illustrated by good vegetation conditions (see ASI map). The favourable growing conditions, coupled with free distributions by the Government and subsidized sales of seeds, fertilizers and other agricultural inputs, benefited planted area and yields, and an above‑average harvest is expected. However, torrential rains in December triggered flooding in lowlands and landslides in Musanze District in the North Province and Ngororero District in the West Province, with crop losses and damage to infrastructure. The heavy seasonal rains are likely to result in localized production shortfalls of beans and Irish potatoes, particularly vulnerable to excessive moisture, especially in the North Province.

Above‑average aggregate cereal production obtained in 2019 due to favourable weather conditions

Both the September‑December 2018 “short rainy season” and the February‑May 2019 “long rainy season” where characterized by a delayed onset of rains followed by abundant mid and late season precipitation, which brought cumulative seasonal amounts to above‑average levels and boosted yields. As a result, both the “2019A” and “2019B” harvests, concluded in February and July, respectively, were estimated at above‑average levels, despite some localized pulse and tuber losses due to excessive moisture. Similarly, the minor “2019C” season harvest, gathered in September in marshlands and irrigated areas, was above average, as abundant rains in June had recharged water sources and rainfall in July and August was adequate.

According to official estimates, the 2019 aggregate cereal production is put at about 733 000 tonnes, about 3 percent up from 2018 and 12 percent above the average of the previous five years.

Prices of maize at very high levels in November mainly due to reduced imports

In the capital, Kigali, wholesale prices of maize increased in November by about 25 percent, with seasonal patterns compounded by increased transport costs and trade disruptions caused by torrential rains. Despite adequate domestic availabities, prices in November were about 85 percent higher than one year earlier, mainly due to reduced imports from Uganda following the closure of border custom posts in February 2019. Prices of beans increased by about 15 percent in November, when they were about 20 percent higher than in the same month of the previous year.

Food security conditions are generally favourable

The country is generally food secure. Food availability has improved since last December, when the “2020A” season crops started to be available for local consumption, ending the lean season. In the areas affected by floods and landslides, humanitarian assistance provided by the Government in the framework of district social safety net programmes is maintaining stable food security conditions for vulnerable households.

According to the UNHCR, as of end‑2019, the country hosted nearly 150 000 refugees and asylum seekers. About 76 000 of them are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo while about 73 000 are Burundians living in the Mahama Camp in the Kirehe District. Under the framework of an inter‑agency multi‑sector response, led by the Government’s Ministry in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA), refugees are provided with basic services, cash transfers and food and nutrition assistance. Refugees are also increasingly integrated in the national economic and social systems as they are allowed and encouraged to seek for labour opportunities to support market food purchases. Overall, their current food security situation is generally satisfactory.