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Significant Moisture Deficit Affects Rwanda's Crops

Significant Moisture Deficit Affects Rwanda's Crops

28 August 2014

RWANDA - Harvesting of 2014B season crops was concluded in July and production is estimated at below average levels. In some eastern agro-pastoral areas, where moisture deficits have been significant, maize and beans output is reported to be about 50 per cent below average.

The erratic and short 2014B rainy season has also affected pasture and water resources, especially in south areas of the Eastern and Southern Provinces (mainly in the districts of Kirehe, Kayonza Ngoma and Gisagara, see map), with consequent deterioration of livestock body conditions.

Harvesting of the minor 2014C season, which represents about 10?15 per cent of annual food crop production, mainly potatoes and beans, is expected to start at the beginning of September and production is forecast at below average levels. Since the C season crops are usually grown in marshlands using residual moisture from the previous rainy season, current yields are forecast at low levels due to the poor performance of the 2014B rainy season.

Land preparation of the 2015A season has just started in paddy growing areas and will continue in September when the bulk of planting of major food crops is expected to take place. Above-average rains are forecast in this short rainy season (September-December) which is expected to benefit the 2015A season crops for harvest early next year.

The overall cereal production in 2014 is forecast at about 767 000 tonnes, 23 per cent below the bumper output obtained in 2013 and seven per cent below the last five-year average.

Maize and bean prices declined in July and August

After rising from May to June, prices of maize and beans have started to decline, following the 2014B season harvest. By early August 2014, maize was traded in the Kigali market at $295 per tonne, about nine per cent below the price of one year earlier. Similarly, the average price of beans ($455 per tonne) declined by 13 per cent during last 12 months.

Given the below-average 2014B season crop production, food prices are expected to rise again during the main lean season (October-December), until crops of the 2015A season harvest become available for consumption at the beginning of next year.

Minimal levels of food insecurity in most areas of the country

Minimal levels (IPC phase 1) of acute malnutrition are reported in most areas of the country. However, households affected by production shortfalls during the 2014B seasons are expected to face stressed levels (IPC phase 2) of food insecurity by September as their food stocks will be depleted at least one month earlier than usual.

Since then, these households rely entirely on market purchases to meet their food needs, with frequent adoption of negative coping strategies such as above?average sales of livestock. In these areas, food security conditions are expected to improve by January 2015 with the beginning of the 2015A season harvest.

TheCropSite News Desk

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