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Burundi Food Security Outlook - October 2020 to May 2021

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Late start of short rains in localized areas delaying 2021 Season A; likely to extend the lean period

Key Messages

  • To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, borders remain closed to the movement of people, reducing, in effect, cross-border income earning opportunities and imported food supply. This, along with above-average staple food prices, is increasing the severity of the October to December lean period for poor and very poor households in Eastern Lowlands and Imbo Plains livelihood zones. In these livelihood zones, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected through the outlook period.

  • NOAA, USGS, and ICPAC forecast that the October to December short rains will likely be near-average nationally (90-110 percent), with localized areas of slightly below-average rainfall (76-90 percent). The rains typically start in mid-September, but the start was delayed until the end of October this year and so far below-average rainfall has been reported in low altutude areas, particularly the Eastern Lowlands livelihood zone. The late start of the short rains in the third week of October is delaying 2021 Season A sowing by more than one month.

  • At least 20,000 returnees who arrived from Tanzania and Rwanda in March through August were unable to cultivate 2020 Season B crops and have exhausted the three-month humanitarian assistance they receive upon arrival. Most returnees are located in the Eastern Lowlands livelihood zone. Without their own agricultural production and with limited access to income sources, it is expected that they will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes throughout the outlook period. IDPs in the Imbo Plains, most of whom are displaced by flooding and are negatively affected by COVID-19 border restrictions, have reduced from 50,000 to 25,000 since the start of the dry season. It is anticipated that these remaining IDPs will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes throughout the outlook period. Among the 81,000 Congolese refugees hosted in Burundi, 50,000 benefit from humanitarian assistance and are experiencing None! (IPC Phase 1!) outcomes. The other 31,000 refugees living in urban areas and are likely in Stressed (IPC Phase 2).