• Concerns for production of “2023A” season crops despite favourable early season rains

• Aggregate cereal production in 2022 estimated at above-average levels

• Prices of food at high levels due to high production and transportation costs

• Food security situation of poorest households affected by high food and fuel prices

Concerns for production of “2023A” season crops despite favourable early season rains

The September‑November “short rainy season” had a timely onset and precipitation amounts received in September were well above average over most cropping areas. The abundant rains had a positive impact on the establishment of “2023A” season crops, to be harvested from December and accounting for about 40 percent of the aggregate cereal output. Although rains in the first half of October were below average over several cropping areas, vegetation conditions remained favourable due to the moisture accumulated early in the season.

According to the latest weather forecast by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s (IGADs) Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC), rains during the remainder of the cropping season are expected to be below average, with a likely negative impact on yields. In addition, yields are likely to be further constrained by a low application of fertilizers due to their high prices. The increasing price trend began in 2021 and was exacerbated since early 2022 by the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine on global supply.

Aggregate cereal production in 2022 estimated at above‑average levels

The 2022 aggregate cereal production is estimated at 805 000 tonnes, about 10 percent above the last five‑year average, following generally favourable weather conditions during both the 2021 September‑November “short rainy season” and the 2022 February‑May “long rainy season”. Yields of cassava and cooking bananas, other important staples in the local diet, were also boosted by above‑average rainfall amounts and the outputs in 2022 are estimated at about 15 and 20 percent, respectively above the five‑year average. By contrast, the aggregate production of beans is estimated at 5 percent below the average, as an erratic temporal distribution of rains during both seasons in Eastern Province affected yields of pulses, particularly vulnerable to rainfall irregularities.

Food inflation at high levels, underpinned by high production and transportation costs

The annual inflation rate, estimated at a high 17.6 percent in September 2022, has been increasing since early 2022, underpinned by rising food and fuel prices.

The year‑on‑year food inflation rate was estimated, in September, at 33.2 percent, compared to the 4.5 percent in January. The inflation rate of vegetables, accounting for the largest share of the food basket, was estimated in September at 42.2 percent. Food prices reached high levels, despite adequate market availabilities, due to high production and transportation costs, with prices of agricultural inputs and fuel underpinned by the impact of the war in Ukraine on global supply and international prices.

Food security of poorest households affected by high food prices

Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Phase 1 (Minimal) levels of food acute insecurity currently prevail in rural areas and in the capital, Kigali. However, IPC Phase 2 (Stressed) levels of food insecurity prevail among the poorest households, which have a minimally adequate food consumption and are unable to meet some essential non ‑ food needs, due to high food prices.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as of end‑September, the country hosted about 127 000 refugees and asylum seekers, mainly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi. Most of them live in camps where they are provided with basic services, cash transfers as well as food and nutrition assistance, with some engaged in informal petty trade and labour activities. Refugees are estimated to face IPC Phase 2! (Stressed!) levels of acute food insecurity, with food assistance averting a worse food insecurity situation. However, high prices of food and fuel are eroding the purchasing power of cash‑based humanitarian assistance and constraining the demand for informal labour activities, affecting the income‑earning opportunities for refugees.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

By pr.web