Food Security Outlook

Good household food security outlook, with prices expected to drop

October 2012 to March 2013

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • The ongoing harvests of all rainfed crops, the sharp uptick in seasonal employment, and price increases for livestock and cash crops are strengthening food access for food-insecure households who were previously in IPC Phase 2 (Stressed). Moreover, the improvement in household purchasing power and the gradual replenishing of food stocks will restore seasonal food access and bring food insecurity levels back down to IPC Phase 1 (Minimal/None) between now and next March.

  • The expected good harvests and the likelihood of at least average to above-average food stocks (even in areas with structural deficits), above-normal farm income levels, social assistance, and the continuation of humanitarian aid programs (cash transfer programs and distributions of free food aid) through the end of December are mitigating the impact of debt incurred by poor households during this past year.

  • Staple cereal prices are still 17 to 70 percent above-average, though down by 8 to 12 percent from their peak levels back in August. Cereal prices are expected to gradually decline in line with normal seasonal price trends after the harvest, between October and December.

  • Subsidized cereal sales ended in September and the government is not planning to continue providing any further humanitarian aid between now and December. Free food distribution programs, which were delayed in getting started, will end between October and December.

National Overview

Current situation

The seasonal rainfall forecasts for Burkina Faso and the Sahelian region, presented in the July outlook report, held true and precipitation levels in most parts of the country surpassing expectations. In fact, cumulative rainfall totals at rain gauge stations in the Sahelian and northern regions of the country for the April through October period were above-average (>110 percent) to well above-average (>150 percent). Current rainfall trends are beginning to normalize although estimates are predicting that the rainy season will end slightly later than normal. This will allow crops to continue to mature in areas such as livelihood zones 9 (East and Southeast cereals, livestock, forestry, and fauna), 2 (Southwest fruits, cotton, and cereals), and 1 (South tubers and cereals), where the rainy season was less early or less well-established up until July/August.

Households  are  gradually  replenishing  their  food  stocks from the earlier than a usual harvest of maize, groundnuts, and cowpeas and, to a lesser extent, cereal crops. This has considerably reduced households market dependency and has improved food access. Food prices have come down from their peak levels in August (sorghum prices have dropped by eight percent and millet prices have stabilized). The sharpest price decreases are in crop-producing areas, where maize prices are down by 25 percent, millet prices by three percent, and sorghum prices by 12 percent. However, prices are still high compared with last year, particularly in the case of millet (+60 percent) and sorghum (+30 percent), and are still well above the five-year average (by 37 to 70 percent). Maize prices remain stable compared to the same time last year but somewhat above-average (by 17 percent), though by not as much as that of other cereals. This is due to that 50 to 75 percent of harvests are completed in all parts of the country. Poor cowpea farmers and vendors are particularly benefiting from the current market price of cowpeas, which are selling for an average of 469 CFA francs/kg (72 percent higher than last year and 94 percent above the five-year average).

Government assistance programs in the form of subsidized cereal sales ended in September. These programs required the mobilization of at least 81,000 metric tons of cereals, most of which was drawn since March from the national food security reserve. As a result, the replenishment of these stocks, normally beginning in December through direct local purchasing or calls for tenders from cereal traders, as well as the replenishment of private stocks (averaging 30,000 metric tons) could put pressure on markets and could trigger price increases, normally beginning in February. The extension through November of other assistance programs (distributions of free food aid and cash transfer programs) by humanitarian partners, whose programs was initially delayed, should help targeted households reduce their need to sell crops to  cover tuition costs, as well as health care costs related to the usual uptick in malaria cases at this time of year. This assistance may also help targeted households settle debts incurred during the past lean season. A minimum of 16,900 metric tons of food and US$ 6.3 million are scheduled to be distributed to some 1.3  million recipients by the WFP and CONASUR (the National Emergency Aid and Rehabilitation Council) between October and November.

Ongoing programs for the prevention of malnutrition have been in progress since the implementation of the operational assistance plan for at-risk populations and will continue through at least November, if not January. The number of malnutrition admissions to treatment facilities normally peaks between September and December, due to food insecurity during the lean season and an increase in cases of malaria and other diseases during the rainy season. In addition to these preventive programs, the government was furnished with pharmaceutical kits in August for the low-cost treatment of malaria cases at health facilities around the country. These different programs should help lower or stabilize malnutrition rates between October and March 2013.

The main source of household income is currently the sale of livestock (small animals and poultry). Despite high market supply due to household food insecurity problems, livestock prices have not declined as it normally does at this time of year. Market livestock supplies in the Sahelian region in October were up from the month of August, as where prices which increased by four to seven percent. This supply increase is attributable to an increase in trading by many domestic and foreign dealers (from Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire) who were kept from livestock markets during the rainy season, as well as to household needs for cash in order to pay for tuition costs. Prices for small animals are 13 to 34 percent higher than last year and anywhere from 4 to 47 percent above the five-year average due, in part, to their good physical condition with the earlier than normal availability of pasture and watering holes and to strong domestic and foreign demand with Tabaski in October and end-of-the-year celebrations.

As usual, wage rates for farm labor are stable or rising (up from 1,000-1,500 to 1,750-2,000 CFA francs) depending on the livelihood zone, and are highest in areas close to gold-washing sites. The expansion of the size of cropping areas in cotton- producing regions (livelihood zones 1, 2, 3, and 9) has increased the demand for labor compared with last year. In other parts of the country, mining jobs pay higher than local farm work and are drawing laborers away from the agricultural workforce.

As of the end of September, the country had approximately 35,000 Malian refugees, most of whom are concentrated in livelihood zones 8 (68.7 percent) and 7 (23.7 percent). The refugee population estimate is down from the previous estimate of 108,000 from the joint level 2 census performed by the UNHCR and the National Commission for Refugees.  Ongoing humanitarian assistance programs, as well as programs planned for now through December, used for planning purposes the estimated target group of 108,000 refugees, based on the initial head count taken prior to the beginning of June. Refugee camps are still reporting an influx of new arrivals, but the flow is currently manageable. Another round of monthly food ration distributions occurred at the beginning of October, mainly by the WFP and CRS.

Assumptions

The October 2012 through March 2013 most likely food security scenario described below for the country’s two main areas of concern are based on the following general assumptions:

  • A good harvest is expected due to a good spatial-temporal distribution of rainfall and above-average levels of precipitation, the earlier than normal planting of crops in certain areas, and agricultural assistance provided by the government and its partners throughout the growing season. The nationwide cereal harvest should be average to above-average (7 to 17 percent above-average based on preliminary estimates by agricultural departments in early September of this year).  
  • The continuation of ongoing food aid and cash transfer programs through November/December will help prevent targeted households from selling off their crops as quickly as usual.
  • The desert locust situation should have a negligible, if any, effect on crops based on the latest trends observed in locust breeding areas of Niger and Mali. With the drying of crops and pastures in these areas as of the middle of October, locusts were observed migrating in the direction of North Africa (towards Libya and Algeria). In addition, the national locust control agencies have had more time to prepare for and respond to a possible, though unlikely, locust invasion from these breeding areas.
  • Season transhumance will be normal between March and June due to the large availability of pasture and animal watering holes. Thus, northern livestock herds should begin moving south and towards the coastal states as of February. Adequate market supplies of agro-industrial byproducts used as animal feed and scheduled livestock assistance programs by the government and its partners (distributions of 84,700 chickens and feed to 7,700 recipients) should help revitalize livestock fattening operations as of December.
  • Cotton production is expected to exceed last year’s figure by 2 to 13 percent (445,500 to 490,000 MT), but will be 4 to 13 percent lower than the five-year average. With the guaranteed 10 percent increase in the unit purchase price of cotton, household income from cotton sales should be at least 10 percent above-average as of February (when the first payments are made to cotton farmers for their crops).
  • This year’s good rainfall levels are also expected to increase output of other cash crops (cowpeas, groundnuts, and sesame). This, coupled with the already high and increasing farm-gate prices for these crops in general, and for cowpeas in particular (up 72 percent compared to last year and 94 percent compared to the five-year average) should generate 10 to 20 percent more income for all households throughout the outlook period. Sales of cash crops normally account for 26 percent of all household cash income.  
  • Off-season crop harvest, particularly market garden crops, should be normal due to the high levels of water sources. These off-season farming activities generally start up immediately after the cereal harvest (in November-December) and the first harvests and sales will begin in February. Sales of market garden crops normally generate anywhere from three to 10 percent of household farm cash income.
  • The desert locust situation should have a negligible, if any, effect on crops based on the latest trends observed in locust breeding areas of Niger and Mali. With the drying of crops and pastures in these areas as of the middle of October, locusts were observed migrating in the direction of North Africa (towards Libya and Algeria). In addition, the national locust control agencies have had more time to prepare for and respond to a possible, though unlikely, locust invasion from these breeding areas.
  • Season transhumance will be normal between March and June due to the large availability of pasture and animal watering holes. Thus, northern livestock herds should begin moving south and towards the coastal states as of February. Adequate market supplies of agro-industrial byproducts used as animal feed and scheduled livestock assistance programs by the government and its partners (distributions of 84,700 chickens and feed to 7,700 recipients) should help revitalize livestock fattening operations as of December.
  • Cotton production is expected to exceed last year’s figure by 2 to 13 percent (445,500 to 490,000 MT), but will be 4 to 13 percent lower than the five-year average. With the guaranteed 10 percent increase in the unit purchase price of cotton, household income from cotton sales should be at least 10 percent above-average as of February (when the first payments are made to cotton farmers for their crops).
  • Income from gold-washing activities should be 5 to 10 percent higher than normal, due to the proliferation of smallscale gold-washing operations in virtually all municipalities across the northern part of the country and a 20 percent increase in the selling price of a carat of gold on local markets since last year (from 25,000 to 30,000 CFA francs per carat for 18 carat gold).
  • Livestock trade could boom between October and January due to increased (domestic and foreign) demand during Tabaski and other end-of-the-year celebrations, and due to household and NGO herd-rebuilding needs as part of resilience-building efforts. Thus, prices are expected to surpass seasonal averages, particularly for cattle, small animals, and poultry. These price increases will improve livestock to cereal terms of trade from the standpoint of pastoralists.
  • Cereal prices should continue to decline in line with normal seasonal trends through December with the gradual rebuilding of household stocks and, thus, weaker demand for cereals on local markets.
  • However, institutional and private cereal procurements between November and March will be larger than normal as currently low or nonexistent stocks are rebuilt. A record 81,000 metric tons of cereals was mobilized by the government and its partners under the Operational Assistance Plan for At-Risk Populations (POSPV) for subsidized sale programs and free food aid distributions throughout 2012. The replenishment of the national food security reserve and buffer stock will require 35,000 and 10,000 metric tons of cereal in 2013, respectively. Trader restocking needs are normally somewhere around 30,000 metric tons and village-level cereal banks will also have provisioning needs. Thus, these procurements could slow the seasonal price decline in December/January and be a contributing factor in keeping prices above-average as of January/February.
  • Domestic cereal trade will intensify from production to consumption zones between November and March of next year for the rebuilding of national stocks. There should be a normal flow of foreign trade due to the good harvest outlook for the subregion as a whole. As of December, any special government border control measures involving cereal exports should be lifted.
  • Ongoing cash-for-work or food voucher programs by humanitarian organizations will serve as an important source of income between now and November. At least 94,200 households around the country will receive an average of 25,000 CFA francs in cash, enabling them to cover their school tuition and health care costs and pay off their debts without needing to sell off their freshly harvested crops.
  • Domestic cereal trade will intensify from production to consumption zones between November and March of next year for the rebuilding of national stocks. There should be a normal flow of foreign trade due to the good harvest outlook for the subregion as a whole. As of December, any special government border control measures involving cereal exports should be lifted.
  • Ongoing cash-for-work or food voucher programs by humanitarian organizations will serve as an important source of income between now and November. At least 94,200 households around the country will receive an average of 25,000 CFA francs in cash, enabling them to cover their school tuition and health care costs and pay off their debts without needing to sell off their freshly harvested crops.
  • The levels of debt incurred by poor households this past year should not significantly affect livelihood recovery efforts between October and March of next year. Borrowing was one of many household coping strategies for getting through this year’s longer than normal lean season. Normally, 12 to 15 percent of debts are repaid in kind (with crops). Thus, in spite of the various assistance programs which have certainly helped reduce or settle household debts, the general belief is that part of this year’s on-farm production may still be used to pay off remaining debts, which would reduce food stocks of very poor and poor households by at least five percent.
  • Health and nutritional conditions should stabilize due to good household food access and ongoing malnutrition prevention programs for children between 6 and 23 months of age continuing through November, if not into January. However, there is normally a spike in malnourished children admissions to health facilities between September and December, when the effects of household food insecurity and diseases, such as malaria, are often felt and mothers have more time to take their children to health centers.
  • As usual, the aid mobilized by the government and its partners will target destitute groups (the elderly with no support and the disabled). Groups classified as at risk for food insecurity (2,129,100 individuals) in phase 3 of the government's June assistance plan could be given top priority in ongoing (distributions of chickens and aid for market gardening activities) or envisaged resilience-building programs by humanitarian organizations.

Most likely food security outcomes Due to access to new harvests, which is improving household food security and reducing household dependence on market purchases, and the gradual replenishment of household food stocks given the better-than-average harvest outlook, poor households should be food-secure, or in IPC Phase 1 (Minimal/None), between October and March. At least 80 percent of the population of all administrative subdivisions and livelihood zones across the country will meet their food security and livelihood protection needs throughout the outlook period (Figures 2 and 3). The size of the population classified by the government (whose classification system is not based on the IPC scale) as food insecure for the current consumption year could be near, if not below, the five-year average, or approximately 600,000 people.

There should be no need for emergency interventions beyond normal, annual assistance programs because very poor and poor households (representing 40 to 60 percent of the population, depending on the area), who normally are able to meet their food needs for three to five months, are expected to still have food stocks during the outlook period. With malnutrition prevention programs for children between six and 24 months of age, last year's global acute malnutrition rate (10.8 percent) should stabilize or decline.

Moreover, unusually high levels of farm (from crop sales) and non-farm income (based on a good harvest outlook and above-average prices) should enable households to rebuild their livelihoods, particularly middle-income and better-off households. However, very poor and poor households, who were hardest hit by food insecurity during the past few months, will give top priority to paying off their debts, which normally account for two to four percent of household expenditures. Thus these households will require assistance in rebuilding their assets before next year’s lean season, which generally begins in June.

Livelihood Zone 8 (North Transhumant Pastoralism and Millet)

Current situation

Livelihoods in this zone, where very poor and poor households generally make up 20 percent and 40 percent, respectively, of the local population, are based mainly on the growing millet and transhumant livestock-raising. Contrary to seasonal rainfall forecasts, this year’s rainy season got off to an earlier than usual start, producing above-average levels of precipitation. The growing season progressed well and the good rainfall ensured a large availability of pasture and water resources. As a result, animals are in good physical condition and pastoral households have a large supply of milk. The early start of the rains helped give poor households earlier than normal access to new cowpea crops, bolstering their food consumption in the weeks leading up to the cereal harvest and thereby improving household food security. This year, farmers selling their cowpea crops to markets between November and March will profit from increased prices (86 percent above-average). Food assistance programs by the government and its partners (distributions of free food aid), continuing through November, are covering at least 7,920 households, or 30 percent of all very poor and poor households. This is helping to bolster and extend household food stocks.

Staple cereal prices (millet and sorghum) have dropped sharply (by 27 to 29 percent) since August but are still 16 percent above the five-year average and 15 to 18 percent higher than last year. Livestock to cereal terms of trade are in favor of pastoralists. However, they are poor than normal with the sale of a Sahelian male goat bringing in 160 kg of millet or 180 kg of sorghum, compared with the usual 190 to 200 kg of millet or sorghum in an average year. 

At present, the main source of household income is livestock sales (cattle, small animals, and poultry). Livestock prices are above the five-year average due to a growing domestic and foreign demand, mainly for Tabaski in late October. Thus, average October prices for male sheep and Sahelian male goats on the closest reference livestock market (Djibo) were 33 percent and 11 percent, respectively, above the five-year average. Small-scale milk and dairy products commerce, which normally generates 10 to 15 percent of household income, has been booming since August, particularly on markets close to refugee camps and milk processing plants. For example, plants processing barely 70 liters of milk per day in October 2011 currently are processing 100 to 150 liters of milk per day. They are purchasing this milk at 300 CFA francs per liter, compared with the five-year average of 200 to 250 CFA francs. Other sources of household income, such as agricultural labor (tending livestock) and migrant remittances are similar to a normal year.

This livelihood zone has approximately 22,300 Malian refugees (64 percent of Burkina Faso’s Malian refugee population), who will be receiving assistance from humanitarian relief programs through December. The WFP and CRS have food supplies in position at the refugee camps, where they are distributing monthly food rations.

Assumptions

The most likely food security scenario is based on the following assumptions specific to this livelihood zone:

  • The cereal harvest should be better than normal due to above-average levels of rainfall and the earlier than usual planting of crops. They are expected to meet at least 50 percent of food needs compared to in a normal year where barely 30 percent of the consumption needs of very poor and poor households are met by crop production. Even after in-kind payments of household debts, this year’s above-normal harvests should meet household consumption needs for five to six months.
  • There should be a normal transhumance movements beginning in March. There is a good supply of pasture and given their current levels animal watering holes, which generally run dry by January, could last until March or April.
  • The availability of water through next March will keep dairy cows in good physical condition.
  • Small-scale milk and dairy product sales are expected to generate 15-20 percent more income than in a normal year, where it makes up 10-15 percent of household income, due to the added demand for these products from the refugee population. Likewise milk consumption, which normally makes up two to five percent of food needs, will increase between October and February due to the large availability of milk.
  • Cowpea sales between November and March from above-normal harvests should be lucrative as current prices are up to 86 percent above-average and due to the large foreign demand. This income should help households rebuild their livelihoods (based around livestock sales) and pay off debts incurred during the past lean season.
  • Though trending downwards, seasonal cereal prices are expected to stay above the five-year average due to the indirect effects of private and institutional stock building in crop-producing areas. Due to the long distance separating this livelihood zone from crop production zones, increasing transportation costs in April 2012 will impact cereal prices and will help keep prices above seasonal averages.
Most likely food security outcomes

With the rebuilding of their food stocks and good milk availability, poor households may be able to meet at least 50 percent of their consumption needs, compared with 30 percent during a normal year. In other words, households will be able to rely on their own crop production through March instead of January/February as usual. Moreover, the boost in household income from small-scale milk sales (between October and February), cash crop sales (particularly cowpeas between November and March), and gold-washing activities (beginning in November) will allow for the repayment of household debts and the rebuilding of livestock herds sold off over the last several months to cope with food insecurity problems. Furthermore, any savings from this income source will be used for preventive cereal purchases to prepare for next year’s normal lean season. Thus, households in this livelihood zone should be food secure, or in IPC Phase 1 (Minimal/None), between October and next March.

Livelihood Zone 8 (North and East Livestock and Cereals)

Current situation

The above-average rainfall levels in this high-potential livestock and cowpea-producing area suggests a good harvest despite local flooding problems, which affected 3,600 persons (514 households) mainly in the provinces of Soum (269 households), Séno (101 households), and Komondjari (173 households). The area received record rainfall, with the gauge station at Dori recording 613 mm of rain (34 percent above-normal). The area received 95 mm of rain in September (36 percent above the norm of 70 mm), and there were reports of rainstorms during the second dekad of October.

This livelihood zone has approximately 1.18 million inhabitants, and very poor and poor households account for 20 percent and 40 percent of the population, respectively. The small, food stocks that were built from the earlier than normal, ongoing harvests of cowpeas, maize, and sorghum have improved the food security situation of very poor and poor households. Food aid programs (distributions of free food) by the WFP and CONASUR are scheduled to run through the end of November and are covering at least 50,000 households, or 30 percent of poor households, reducing household dependence on market purchases for food. The WFP and its partners have been conducting a malnutrition prevention program since July, distributing monthly, supplemental food rations for children between the ages of 6 and 23 months. This program, continuing through the end of November, could help lower or stabilize last year’s global acute malnutrition rate (11.5 percent).

Market prices for cereal have been falling since August and should continue to come down through the end of December. They have already dropped by 26 to 28 percent from their peak August levels. This is relatively normal for this time of year after the harvest of early crops. However, prices are still higher than last year (by 20 to 55 percent) and above the five-year average (by 9 to 34 percent).

Adequate herbaceous and woody pasture growth, as well as high water levels at animal watering holes, are keeping livestock in good physical condition and ensuring good milk availability for pastoral households. Livestock prices are high and are close to last year's prices. Prices are also above the five-year seasonal average. October prices for male sheep and Sahelian male goats on the Djibo livestock market, for example, were up from last year by 35 percent and 2 percent, respectively, and were up 33 percent and 11 percent compared to the five-year average.

Among current household income sources are livestock sales, whose market prices are high due to growing domestic and foreign demand, mainly for Tabaski. Local agricultural wages are also above-average (at 2,000 CFAF per day instead of 1,250-1,500 CFAF), due to labor competition from gold-washing activities, which workers often find more attractive. Despite a ban on small-scale gold-mining activities during the rainy season, very poor and poor households with no other options are continuing to work at gold-washing sites, motivated by the high unit price of gold (over 25,000 CFA francs per gram).

This livelihood zone has 8,260 Malian refugees (23.7 percent of the country’s refugee population), concentrated mainly in Soum province. This population will being assisted by the government and the humanitarian community until the end of December, through food and nonfood aid programs such as monthly food rations (12 kg of cereal, 3 kg of pulses, 0.75 kg of oil, and 1.5 kg of CSB per person), drinking water supplies, and health care and nutritional assistance. As long as there isn't a massive influx of new refugees, scheduled food aid between now and the end of December (mainly from the WFP) should meet needs.

Assumptions

The most likely food security scenario is based on the following assumptions specific to this livelihood zone:

  • The early start of the growing season in this livelihood zone and the good distribution of rainfall, with above-average to well-above-average cumulative rainfall totals, should result in better-than-average harvests. These harvests are expected to produce 50 to 60 percent more crops compared to last year’s poor harvests and will surpass average production levels by at least 20 percent. Food stocks of poor households may meet consumption needs for as many as five to six months, compared to three to four months in a normal year.
  • After large increases in July-August, food prices will continue to decline through the end of December. However, seasonal price trends are expected to keep prices above the five-year average throughout the outlook period.
  • Livestock sales will generate larger than normal amounts of income. Livestock prices in general and, male sheep and Sahelian male goats in particular, are 11 to 33 percent above-average and will stay above-average between October and December with the growing demand for Tabaski and end of the year celebrations. With the end of the rainy season, access roads to the Djibo livestock market (the largest reference market in the area) will be easier to navigate, attracting larger numbers of foreign traders from Nigeria and Ghana and sustaining the price increases.
  • Incomes from cowpea sales will also be large, with current prices (372 to 613 CFAF/kg) being 52 to 70 percent aboveaverage, due to high demand. Moreover, the expected good harvests (50 to 88 percent larger than last year’s harvest) will allow households to sell crops throughout the outlook period or hold onto a portion of their crops for sale later in the year at higher prices.
  • The official reopening of gold-washing operations in all parts of this livelihood zone starting in November will allow households to diversify their income sources throughout the outlook period. Part of the income earned from these activities could be used to rebuild their livelihoods, pay off some of their debts, and cover miscellaneous household expenses.
Most likely food security outcomes

As of October, widespread harvesting activities should enable households to gradually rebuild their food stocks and help reduce their dependence on market food purchases by at least 90 percent. On-farm production should meet household consumption needs for at least five to six months. Increased livestock sales beginning in October, cash crop sales (between November and March), market gardening activities, and gold-washing activities (beginning in November) should help boost household income levels and spur livelihood recovery efforts by very poor and poor households. This income will help bolster household strategies for managing cereal shortages during the normal lean season, mainly through preventive purchases. Thus very poor and poor households will be food secure, or in IPC Phase 1 (Minimal/None), through March 2013. However, resilience-building by poor households will require outside livelihood assistance. 

Eastern Reaches of Livelihood Zone 9 (Southeast Cereals, Livestock, Forestry, and Fauna)

The Far East (Tapoa Province)

Current situation

The growing season's performance in this livelihood zone is reasonably good, particularly in Tapoa Province where very poor and poor households (accounting for 27 and 30 percent, respectively, of the area's estimated 411,117 inhabitants) experienced food insecurity problems in the aftermath of last year’s unusual production shortfall. In fact, the percentage of cereal needs met by production in this area declined from a five-year average of 118 percent to a mere 68 percent last year. Vegetation (NDVI) anomalies in July and August have improved as of September and continuing rainfall into the month of October should allow for crops to fully mature. Access to newly harvested, short-cycle millet and maize crops since August has improved the household food security situation. Food assistance programs (by the WFP and Action Against Hunger) for a target group of 14,297 households, representing 49 percent of very poor and poor households in the area, will continue through the end of November (providing 602 metric tons of food and cash for 4,400 households). This should allow these households to rebuild their food stocks with new crops or pay off part of their debts incurred during the lean season.

The main source of household income is the sale of livestock, whose market prices are well above-average. Average prices for male sheep and goats on the closest reference livestock market (Fada market) are up by 38 to 47 percent. This upward trend in prices could be sustained by domestic and foreign demand during Tabaski and end of the year celebrations. As normal, other sources of income include the sales of nonwoody forest products (shea nuts), small-scale trading activities, local agricultural wage labor, and cash-for-work or direct cash transfer programs by NGOs. In addition to food purchases, household income is also being used to pay tuition costs for schoolchildren and to cover miscellaneous expenses, such as healthcare costs due to the normal uptick in malaria cases at this time of year.

Assumptions

The most likely food security scenario is based on the following assumptions specific to this livelihood zone:

  • Agricultural production will be better than normal. In addition to the beneficial effects of regular rainfall since August, other factors contributing to the good growing season. These factors include assistance from the government and its partners in the form of farm inputs (improved seeds and fertilizer), lowland development and degraded land reclamation projects (soil and water conservation/land protection and reclamation techniques), and the increasingly widespread usage of improved seeds by local farmers. Thus for poor households, household stocks from the harvest could meet consumption needs for as long as six to eight months, compared to five to seven months normally.  
  • Cash crop sales could generate large amounts of income. Farmers are encouraged by increases in cottonseed purchase prices (220 to 245 CFAF/kg) and are expecting a good harvest. Some farmers decided to focus on sesame crops, which require less maintenance and whose producer prices on local markets is attractive. The income from these crops will allow households to pay off part of their debts and cover other miscellaneous expenses, such as herd-rebuilding costs.
  • Income from local agricultural employment between October and December will be at least 10 percent higher than normal. This is bolstered by high labor demand for cotton harvests, the preparation of fields for planting market garden crops, and for ongoing cash-for-work programs employing 4,400 households.
  • The malnutrition prevention and treatment programs for children between six and 24 months of age and pregnant or breast-feeding women, conducted mainly by Action Against Hunger since April and continuing through the end of January, should help lower or stabilize global acute malnutrition rates.
Most likely food security outcomes

Between October and March, above-normal replenished food stocks will enable poor and very poor households to meet their consumption needs for six to eight months instead of the usual five to seven months. This will reduce these households dependency on the market for food purchases. Moreover, the expected impact of ongoing preventive programs could stabilize if not reduce last year’s global acute malnutrition rates. In addition, cash crops sales (cotton and sesame) from larger than normal harvests at above-average prices between November and February will help boost income and allow households to pay off their debts and rebuild their livelihoods (through herd rebuilding, replenishment farm input supplies, savings, etc.). Thus, very poor and poor households will be food-secure, or in IPC Phase 1 (Minimal/None), through March 2013. Furthermore, livelihood assistance from the country’s humanitarian partners will help build the resilience of poor households plagued by food insecurity over the past few months.

area

event

Impact on food security conditions

Nationwide

  • Steady rise in rice prices on the international market 

Consumption in urban areas will shift from rice to local cereal crops (mainly maize). Burkina Faso imports an average of 300,000 metric tons of rice per year, of which nearly 60 percent is consumed by urban households. Thus, an increase in prices will strengthen demand for other types of cereals, particularly maize, which is considered a substitute. This will likely drive up the price of maize and other cereal crops on local markets

Livelihood zone 8

  • Desert locust invasion from Niger or Mali in October

This could undercut crop and pasture production and significantly reduce the duration of food stocks, as was the case in 2004. This would slow the downward trend in prices, put pressure on markets, and heighten household food insecurity as of January.

  • Deterioration in security conditions in northern Mali

This will trigger a new massive influx of refugees into the area and the government and its partners will be unable to effectively meet their needs. This will also likely to put pressure on local markets and could keep prices above-average.

Livelihood zone 7

  • Desert locust invasion from Niger or Mali in October

 

  • Lack of livelihood recovery programs for very poor and poor households

This could undercut crop and pasture production and significantly reduce the duration of food stocks, as was the case in 2004. This would slow the downward trend in prices, put pressure on markets, and heighten household food insecurity as of January.

Even with the good performance of cash crops, a lack of socioeconomic recovery programs for households in this area could force them to sell a part of their harvests to meet miscellaneous health and well-being needs. In this case, food stocks could run out earlier than usual and could create food insecurity problems beginning as of March 2013.

About Scenario Development

To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 28 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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