A decade of social and political conflict has left Burundi, a landlocked country in east-central Africa, facing increasing levels of food insecurity. With a dense population of 11.8 million people, many citizens are facing poverty and malnutrition: Burundi is considered to be in the ninth-worst food security crisis in the world. Here are 5 facts regarding the situation of hunger in Burundi.
5 Facts About Hunger in Burundi
- Burundi is ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world. As of 2019, more than 65% of Burundians live below the poverty line. More than 50% are chronically hungry, and the total annual production of food in Burundi would only cover 55 days per person per year.
- Burundian citizens rely on agriculture. About 80% rely on farming to meet their food needs. Due to the average of 248 people per square mile in Burundi and the annual 3% increase in population, the amount of farming land available is extremely limited, reducing the total capacity of food production.
- Only 1/3 of Burundian children complete middle school. Children in poverty are often taken out of school to work in the fields, which perpetuates the cycle of under-education and poverty. The World Food Program is working to support schoolchildren by providing them with meals, their program reaching about 600,000 children every day to help ensure that they stay in the classroom.
- The World Food Program is helping to support farmers in Burundi. The World Food Program has been working since 1968 to combat hunger in Burundi, which includes supporting smallholder farmers. The program works to build systems that combine smallholders’ produce and improve food management after harvest.
- The Terintambwe ‘Take a Step Forward’ program has been working to combat hunger and poverty in Burundi. This program, which focuses on providing skills training, income support and capital transfers to help participants start their own small businesses, is working to improve lives in Burundi. According to a report by the Global Hunger Index, the number of adult participants eating only one meal a day at baseline dropped from 81% at the beginning of the program to 8% at the end of the program.
Burundian citizens suffering from poverty and hunger are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. Organizations such as the World Food Program and the Terintambwe ‘Take a Step Forward’ program are working to reduce hunger in Burundi, and both seek out voluntary donations to fund their programs. Support of governmental institutions in Burundi such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of National Solidarity and the Ministry of Gender are also essential to reducing hunger in Burundi. With these steps in place, the work to improve the lives of Burundian citizens can begin.
– Ayesha Asad