Rwanda

Rwanda Key Message Update: Localized Season C harvests increase food access in rural areas, September 2021

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Key Messages

  • The on-going Season C harvest, accounting for about 10-15 percent of the national annual harvest, has marginally increased food availability and access in rural areas. The harvest has particularly benefited the Southern Province, where Season C cultivation is concentrated, with enhanced food access and stable food prices. In the other provinces, many rural households are retaining food stocks from past harvests but the number of those depleting food stocks and depending on purchases is increasing, contributing to increased food prices. In the Northern Province, bean prices increased from 300-350RWF/kg in July to 450-500 RWF/kg in September. Overall, the availability of beans, rice, sweet potatoes, and vegetables from the current harvest together with food stocks from Season B harvests are maintaining Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes among rural households. Agricultural labor from on-going planting and weeding is an important source of income for food purchases in rural areas.

  • Current daily COVID-19 infections range between 200 and 400 cases, a substantial reduction from over 2,000 daily cases in July 2021. This trend allowed the government to progressively lift stringent control measures put in place in July including a total lockdown in Kigali and eight other districts, restricted inter-district movement, and reduced business operation capacity and hours. The lift has gradually contributed to increased income earning opportunities and increased trade, especially in urban areas. In addition, the on-going COVID-19 vaccination campaign has administered 3.34 million doses, with 10.8 percent of the population fully immunized. The increased income earning opportunities together with increased rural-urban marketing of food and cross-border trade is maintaining area-level Minimum (IPC Phase 1) outcomes in urban areas.

  • According to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR), the monthly ‘food and non-alcoholic beverages’ prices in August 2021 increased by 0.1 percent in rural areas but decreased in urban areas by 0.2 percent. Compared to August 2020 prices, August 2021 prices decreased by 7.3 and 1.9 percent in rural and urban areas, respectively. In rural areas, the slight monthly price increase was driven by an increase of between 0.1 to 1.4 percent of all items, with exception of “Meat”, which decreased 0.1 percent. Price increases in rural areas was due to declining food stocks. Nationally, the consumer price index increased by 0.5 percent compared to July 2021, primarily driven by about one percent increases for “Alcoholic Beverages”, “Transport” and “Housing water, electricity, gas and other fuels”. The increased cost could be attributable to increased demand due to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in August.

  • The UNHCR estimated 127,382 refugees and asylum seekers in Rwanda are among the most food insecure due to lack of means of livelihoods and fuding contraints that forced WFP to reduce food assistance by 60 percent in early 2021. Owing to the funding shortfall, WFP only provides food assistance in form of cash-based transfers of about 3,500 and 7,000 RWF to households consindered moderately and most vulnerable, respectively. However, the nutrition assistance to protect against malnutrition and school feeding programs have not been affected. Generally, the reduction in food assistance and loss of income opportunities due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions is driving, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes among refugees.