Food Security Outlook Update

Seasonal rainfall normalizes across the country

August 2015
2015-Q3-1-1-BF-en

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

  • Regular rainfall since mid-July has increased agricultural activities across the country, although crop development is behind schedule compared to a normal year, with most currently at the height growth/tillering stage.

  • Humanitarian assistance operations (cash transfer payments and distributions of food vouchers) are underway for the poorest households in far northern areas of the countries, including the communes of Nassoumbou, Koutougou, and Tin-Akoff, where current food security conditions are Stressed (IPC Phase 2!).

  • Increased and more regular rainfall is reassuring market actors and is helping to maintain stable cereal prices near the five-year average. 

Current Situation

After a late start of rainfall delayed crop planting by 20-30 days, heavy and regular rainfall has occurred across the entire country since mid-July. Cumulative rainfall totals between April 1 and August 10 ranged from 130 mm (in 12 days of rain) in the far north (at the Déou station) to 758 mm (in 36 days of rain) in the west (at the N’Dorola station). In general, these cumulative rainfall numbers are close to the five-year average, except for the few slight rainfall deficits in eastern and central-western areas (Figure 1).

Frequent, heavy rainfall since mid-July has severely disrupted some crop maintenance activities and proper crop growth and development, particularly in lowland areas. It also caused flooding resulting in property damage, particularly in Centre, Hauts Bassins, Est, Sahel, Nord, and Centre-Ouest Regions. However, these rains have also helped to promote good levels of new pasture growth, strengthening food availability for livestock.

Currently during the peak of the lean season, the supply of staple foods on local markets is considered satisfactory compared to a normal year. According to the CICB, the national trade association for the cereal and cowpea trade (Comité des Interprofessions de Céréales et de Niébé du Burkina), the inventories of wholesale traders and farmers unions are at approximately 30,000 metric tons, 34 percent lower than last month. Adding to commercial stocks, ongoing government-subsidized sales of maize and rice are helping to strengthen household food availability. Cash transfer payments and/or distributions of food vouchers by humanitarian organizations in the far northern areas of the country have helped bring down the food insecurity of most poor households (of which at least 76 percent were previously in Crisis (IPC Phase 3)) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2!). On the whole, cereal prices have stayed close to the five-year average. Prices for millet, the staple of local populations, are below the five-year average by eight percent and 12 percent, respectively, on the Dori and Gorom-Gorom markets (in the Sahelian region). 

As is normally the case during the lean season, poor households are meeting their food needs in part through the collection of wild foods such as the leaves of baobab trees, cassia trees, bean plants, etc. Their main sources of income are farm labor, sales of livestock, and migrant remittances. Demand for farm labor has picked up over the past month as a result of the delay in crop maintenance work. However, in spite of this high demand, daily wage rates for farm labor have stayed on par with the five-year average (between 1,000 and 2,000 F CFA). The improved physical condition of livestock in the agropastoral zone (on the Dori, Djibo, and Gorom-Gorom markets) has improved the prices commanded by pastoralists for their animals, which are near the five-year average, particularly in the case of Sahelian male goats (selling for between 26,500 and 33,500 CFAF) and Sahelian male sheep (selling for between 53,000 and 63,000 CFAF). 

Updated Assumptions

The current situation has not affected the assumptions used by FEWS NET in establishing the most-likely scenario for the period from September through December 2015. A full discussion of the scenario can be found in the Food Security Outlook for July through December 2015.

Projected Outlook through December 2015

The second round of cash transfer payments or distributions of food vouchers (by the WFP, OXFAM, Christian Aid, DRC, CRS, and the government) to poor households in the far northern areas of the country planned for September should help maintain, if not improve their currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food security outcomes until the upcoming October harvest.

However, if the rainy season ends as usual around mid-September in the north, late September in the central part of the country, and early October in the south, there could be a below-average harvests in October. In this case, demand for the rebuilding of trader inventories would put pressure on domestic markets, resulting in atypical rises in the prices of crops between October and December. The heightened demand for livestock in preparation for the celebration of Tabaski at the end of September will help drive their prices up above the five-year average.

 

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work 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 approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics