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Agropastoral season and food security conditions are evolving normally

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Burkina Faso
  • August 2013
Agropastoral season and food security conditions are evolving normally

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through December 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Cash transfer programs and subsidized grain sales are strengthening food access for very poor and poor households. This is diminishing the effects of this year’s already normal lean season, and is enabling households to maintain Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity. 

    • In general, staple grain prices are near their five-year averages, though prices on northern and northeastern Sahelian markets are as much as 12 to 37 percent above average. However, relatively normal household incomes are offsetting the effects of these higher prices and are enabling households to continue to access food without difficulty. 

    • The growing season is progressing normally and continuing rainfall should enable households to access early crops by the end of August or the beginning of September. Food security conditions for poor households during the post-harvest period (October to December) are expected to be normal. 


    Current Situation
    • In general, between July 1st and August 20th, rainfall was regular and well-distributed. Cumulative seasonal rainfall totals between April 1st and August 20th ranged from 286.7 mm in Markoye (in the Sahelian zone) to 911.2 mm in Orodara (in the Sudanian zone). This puts cumulative rainfall totals similar to or above the 1981-2010 historical averages, except for in areas along the border with Côte d’Ivoire (such as the Niangoloko rain gauge station in the Cascades region) where rainfall deficits were reported.  In these areas, crop growth and development have been delayed, which could negatively affect crop yields, particularly for maize and cotton. In general, about halfway through the season, rainfall levels are confirming seasonal forecasts that predicted above-normal to normal rainfall levels between July and September. Consequently, farming operations (ex. weeding, ridging, and fertilizer application) are proceeding normally with satisfactory crop growth.
    • Very poor and poor households’ already normal food access has been further strengthened by recent cash payments through cash-for-work, food-for-work, or blanket feeding programs, as well as government-subsidized grain sales (at 120 FCFA/kg, 40 to 60 percent below market prices). The volume of such assistance programs is currently below-normal due to a relatively good food security situation across the country since the last main harvest.
    • Household food consumption indicators are normal with households consuming at least two meals per day. The supply of milk and nonwoody forest products, particularly the leaves of baobab trees (Adansonia digitata), Moringa trees, Cassia trees, etc., is relatively good and similar to a normal year. This good supply is also helping to bolster food intake. In addition, households are resorting to their typical coping strategies for the lean season (July to September). The primarily sources of household incomes are currently sales of small ruminants, sales of nonwoody forest products (at normal levels), gold washing activities (with gold prices near the three-year average), and farming activities. Daily wage rates for farm labor have not changed since last year, although the current cost of labor (1,200 to 1,500 FCFA) is at least 20 percent above the five-year average.
    • As many pastoralists have larger stocks of grain this year, they are selling fewer animals at major markets across the Sahelian zone (the key livestock-raising area of the country) in order to purchase food. Livestock prices on the Gorom-Gorom market (in livelihood zone 8) are similar to the five-year average. Meanwhile, at the Dori and Djibo markets (in livelihood zone 7), prices are seven to 19 percent above-average. At these markets, the sale of a male goat currently enables the purchase of between 109 to 176 kg of millet, resulting in terms of trade that are approximately 8 percent below the five-year average.
    • Grain availability on local markets is good with markets currently being supplied by trader inventories, as well as by the destocking of crops by large farmers with the positive progression of the agricultural season. July grain prices across the country were down sharply from the same time last year, by an average of 23 percent in the case of millet and 24 percent in the case of maize and sorghum. In addition, compared to the five year average, maize prices were down seven percent while millet and sorghum prices were up seven and two percent, respectively. The largest price differentials between July 2013 prices and the five-year average were on markets in production deficit areas of the Sahel and the northern areas of the Eastern region (livelihood zones 7 and 8). For example, millet and white sorghum prices on the Bogandé market were up by 35 and 37 percent, respectively. Similarly, millet prices on the Dori market were up by 18 percent, and millet and white sorghum prices on the Gorom-Gorom market were up by 21 and 12 percent, respectively.
    • The steady normalization of the socio-political situation in Mali has caused refugees to slowly start returning to their homes. During this last month, refugees in Burkina Faso have been able to consume their preferred foods through food assistance programs by WFP, combined with cash transfer programs. 

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not affected the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the period of July to December 2013. A full discussion of this scenario is available in the Food Security Outlook for July through December 2013.


    Projected Outlook through December 2013

    The subsidized sale of grains, which will continue through October 31st, as well as the destocking of trader inventories, will help stabilize and, in some cases, bring down market prices between August and October. This will facilitate household food access, particularly in FEWS NET’s areas of concern (livelihood zones 7 and 8). Assuming that the growing season continues to progress normally, households will, by September, have access to new crops. The upcoming harvests of cowpeas, fonio, short-cycle millet, and border-irrigated maize are expected to be average, and FEWS NET is projecting that food security conditions for poor households will be relatively normal across the country between September and December. Consequently, the entire country is classified as facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) levels of food insecurity.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Source:

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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