Situation Report
Carte ©PAM
Carte ©PAM

The 2021A cropping season (sept 2020 to sept 2021) is likely to be worse increasing the number of people suffering from food insecurity

The latest Food Security Classification Framework (IPC) analysis conducted in the third quarter of 2020 estimated that about 1.3 million people are in crisis and emergency (IPC phase 3 and 4) .

Since this analysis, the food security context has been negatively impacted by natural disasters phenomena on main crops and some estimates suggest that the number of food insecure people could increase significantly starting from January 2021.

This is supported by the delay in sowing which started at the end of November in several regions and the extension of the 2020B cropping season (October to December 2020) causing an overlap of cropping seasons. Information relayed on social networks indicates that in the congo nil ridge region, at the beginning of December, some crop fields in the valley of the Murembwe river of the province of Rumonge were inundated by floods due to the river overflow after 3 successive days of intense rains. In the depressions in the north and east of the country, with already low rainfall, their irregularity and reduction have already caused a water deficit, drying up shallow water sources and a decrease in agricultural production. Particularly in certain communes of the province of Kirundo, the main crops such as beans and maize have wilted due to the water deficit, especially in the Gisenyi area in the commune of Busoni. The rainfall regime is one of the determining factors of agricultural production in Burundi. As other countries, Burundi is affected by climate change effects . At times, drought can occur in the generally rainy season, while at others heavy rains fall in the supposed dry season.

The 2020B season (October to December 2020) , depending on the regions, was affected in variable ways by several factors: the main one being the climatic conditions but also availability of agricultural inputs, availability of land, in particular in the areas of reception of returnees, and prevalence of crop pest diseases. Throughout the 2020B season, rainfall conditions far from normal were generally observed, either in deficit or in excess. This confirms the weather forecast for September to December from the Geographical Institute of Burundi (IGEBU). At the same time, an increase in the prices of most staple foods linked to the decrease of their availability on the market was experienced. The October 2020 World Food Program (WFP) mobile-based vulnerability analysis and mapping mVAM survey shows that the proportion of markets with more than 5 tons of supplies continues to decline. It went from 37% in September 2020 to 28% in October for pulses. At the same period in 2019, this proportion was 33%. For rice, this proportion fell from 37% in September 2020 to 30% in October. At the same period in 2019, this proportion was 28%. For corn, this proportion fell from 22% in September 2020 to 12% in October. At the same period in 2019, this proportion was 19%. Consequently, the prices of beans and corn observed in October 2020 know a monthly increase of 10% compared to those of September 2020. All these factors risk influencing a poor performance of the cropping season of 2021A (Sept 2020 to Sept 2021).

 Preliminary results of the SMART survey

Data validation from the nutritional survey (SMART) conducted in August - September 2020 by the Ministry of Health is underway. Preliminary results show a deterioration of the nutritional situation in Burundi, with a prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) of 6.1% in 2020 against 4.5% in 2018 and 5.1% in 2019. A total of 31 Health districts out of 47 have GAM rates between 5%  and 9.9% and are classified as median nutritional status according to the new 2018 WHO thresholds. The district of Ruyigi has a prevalence of MAG of 10.9%, the highest in the country; whilst the lowest prevalence is observed in the health district of Gitega with 2.2%. At the national level, the rate of chronic malnutrition highlights a situation of nutritional crisis even though it has fallen from 54% in 2019 to 52.2% (51.4 - 53) in 2020.

This situation of acute malnutrition is due to a multitude of underlying factors, in particular for children, including the incidence of childhood illnesses, inappropriate care and feeding practices for infants and young children, inadequate hygiene and sanitation conditions, low dietary diversification, and chronic food insecurity. All of these factors are exacerbated by the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 which has shocked children already living in a very fragile situation.