Food Security Outlook Update

Liquidation and destruction of productive assets in blockaded areas is causing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity outcomes

August 2022

August - September 2022

October 2022 - January 2023

IPC v3.1 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
Concentration of displaced people
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 v3.1 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
Concentration of displaced people
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 v3.1 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
Concentration of displaced people
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 v3.1 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

  • Due to market supply disruptions and inaccessible price levels, poor host households and IDPs in blockaded conflict areas in the far north are forced to destock the last breeding females and scale up the consumption of wild foods. In the provinces of Soum and Oudalan, most poor households no longer have livestock, have also lost other usual sources of income, and must increase the frequency of days without food. Even with liquidating their assets, households continue to have consumption deficits and are facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity outcomes, characterized by an atypically high rate of acute malnutrition and an increase in hunger-related mortality. In inaccessible areas of Oudalan, FEWS NET anticipates that a small subset of very poor and poor households have large food deficits and depleted livelihood assets due to dysfunctional markets, limited mobility, and limited or no ability to engage in typical subsistence activities and are likely   in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).

  • Militant armed groups continue to exercise control over the main roads by destroying bridges and planting improvised explosive devices, thus increasing the number of blockaded areas. Since July, Yagha province has been added to the list of areas that are only accessible by air or escort. The provinces of Loroum, Soum, and the municipalities of Gorgadji in Séno and Markoye in Oudalan are faced with price levels that have more than doubled compared to the average. 

  • Following the early or timely onset of the rainy season, green harvests should become widespread starting in mid-September and help reduce household dependence on markets, particularly in the calmer areas in the south. In the far north, these harvests will not be sufficient to significantly improve the food security of households, in particular IDPs who will remain more dependent on assistance given the extreme deterioration of their livelihoods.

CURRENT SITUATION

Since the second dekad of July, rainfall has been regular with accumulations close to the average. This promotes the growth of crops whose main vegetative stages are bolting and flowering, especially for cereals. However, access to fields remains a challenge in the Sahel, North, Centre-North, East, and Boucle du Mouhoun regions, where area planted is well below average due to the insecurity and population displacements. Government fertilizer subsidies have generally reached farmers late and in most cases, farmers have not been able to follow the indicated schedule for usage. In addition, in view of the high fertilizer prices, which are 75 to 100 percent above average, producers, especially those in maize production areas, have limited the areas of cereal crops requiring fertilizers or have substituted these crops for legumes.

From a security perspective, although the rainy season and accompanying floods typically make it more difficult for militant groups to conduct offensive operations, at least 124 attacks by militant groups occurred in July 2022—the highest level ever recorded in the country. In the North, Sahel, and East regions, militant groups have intensified their efforts to cut off and isolate local communities. The increase in attacks along the Ouahigouya-Titao, Kongoussi-Djibo, Kaya-Dori, Dori-Arbinda, Dori-Sebba, Gorom-Markoye, and Fada-Kompienga roads has made it difficult for traders to supply local markets, leading to a record price increase. Militant groups have also stepped up their efforts to sabotage telecommunications infrastructure and bridges. In addition to populations being threatened with reprisal attacks, new blockaded areas have been created since last June in the province of Yagha and in certain municipalities of the province of Tapoa. This situation reinforces the consequences of the blockade for the provinces of Loroum, Soum, Kompienga, and certain municipalities in the provinces of Oudalan, Séno, and Komondjari. The supply of staple foods in these areas requires escort operations by the army, but given the high level of threat, these operations are not regular, and it generally takes more than a month for supplies to reach markets. Circulation restrictions on movement via high powered motorcycles further complicate supply flow for petty traders who use rural roads for transporting goods. As a result, there are shortages of certain preferred foods by households, such as millet, oil, sugar, and sorghum, that cause an atypically high consumption of wild harvested products.

During this period, when households are at peak market dependence for food, food availability in markets is low compared to normal. Atypical price levels are observed in most markets with annual variations of 41 percent for maize, 70 percent for millet, and 75 percent for sorghum. Compared to the five-year average, maize is 72 percent higher, millet is up 80 percent, and sorghum has increased by 87 percent. Record variations between 115 percent and 150 percent are observed in blockaded areas, particularly in Titao, Djibo, and Sebba markets (Figure 1).

High commodity prices are causing households to sell two goats, rather than one, to obtain the same quantities of millet that they could normally. In the far north, key informants indicate that after looting and higher than usual sales of animals, households are now forced to sell breeding females at half the average price due to lack of wholesale buyers.

With the onset of the rainy season, wild foods are available and constitute, in addition to humanitarian assistance, the main sources of food for IDPs and poor host households, especially in blockaded areas. Throughout the country, poor households are resorting more than usual to green vegetable consumption (baobab leaves and cassia tora). Although cash assistance and airlift distributions increased in August, assistance only covers less than 20 percent of the total population. In the province of Kompienga, a spontaneous delivery took place in August, which covered 30 percent of the population. Despite the ongoing blockade in Yagha, local partners' stocks and cash transfers enabled the delivery of rations to 50 percent of the population in need and 26 percent of the population. In reality, this assistance continues to be subject to voluntary redistribution within households. In the municipality of Déou, for example, about 30 percent of most households that had fled terrorist abuses and threats at the end of 2021 rely on assistance as their only source of food.

In the provinces of Soum and Oudalan, poor households (IDPs and hosts) cope by consuming one meal a day and limit food portions at the same time. However, key informants estimate that the proportion of households that can go an entire day without food is at least 20 percent among host households and 35 percent among IDPs. According to the results of the rapid SMART survey, conducted in July by the Ministry of Health in the town of Gorom-Gorom, the nutritional situation is Critical according to the WHO classification, with a very high prevalence of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) at 16.3 percent, of which 6.4 percent were Severe. Nutritional deterioration is more serious in IDPs where the prevalence of GAM and SAM are respectively 18.7 and 8.4 percent. While malnutrition rates above the Emergency threshold and depletion of livelihoods and coping strategies are observed in accessible areas of Oudalan and Soum provinces, FEWS NET predicts that the situation is likely worse in inaccessible and blocked areas of the province due to dysfunctional markets, limited mobility, and limited or non-existent capacity to engage in typical subsistence activities. Therefore, FEWS NET projects that a small subset of very poor and poor households in the least accessible areas of Oudalan have large food deficits and depleted livelihood assets and are in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).

UPDATED ASSUMPTIONS

Updated assumptions used to develop FEWS NET's most likely scenario for the Burkina Faso June 2022 to January 2023 Food Security Outlook are as follows:

  • The predominance of insecurity will continue to drive new areas under security blockades, illustrated by the province of Yagha, where gaining access to supply the main market has been difficult since June. Supply disruptions will continue to result in prices that are out of reach for poor households, as prices are nearly three times higher than the five-year average.
  • The delivery of food assistance planned for September in blockaded areas in general, and in Yagha province in particular, is likely to be disrupted due to the ongoing blockade. The depletion of partner stocks in the province will require the delivery of aid by air or by escort of national security forces.

PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH JANUARY 2023

In the far north, the blockade is likely to persist and accelerate the erosion of household assets. The October harvests will not be sufficient to significantly improve the food situation of poor households, in particular IDPs who will remain dependent on food assistance. Wild foods will be less available after the end of the September rains and low incomes will prevent household food purchases given the high market prices. In the provinces of Soum and Oudalan, where poor households are already facing an extreme deterioration of their livelihoods, the use of Emergency (IPC Phase 4) strategies could increase the cases of severe acute malnutrition. FEWS NET also predicts that Oudalan and Soum, classified as Emergency (IPC Phase 4), will have a subset of households that will experience extreme food consumption gaps indicating Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5), especially in municipalities, such as Markoye and Tin Akoff, where access to food and income and the capacity to adapt are extremely low.

In neighboring areas that have a strong presence of IDPs (in particular in the provinces of Séno and Loroum, as well as the municipalities to the north of the Centre-Nord region such as Bourzanga, Rollo, Namissiguima, Pensa, Barsalogho, Boroum), harvests will not be sufficient to prevent negative coping strategies like reducing the number of meals consumed and limiting food portions. Similarly, the persistence of the security threat will continue to limit incomes and households will not be able to meet their needs through market purchases. In these areas, the poor, in particular IDPs, will remain exposed to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity outcomes.

In addition to the availability of harvested products, the first green harvests (maize, early millet, cowpea, and fonio) should appear around mid-September and help reduce household dependence on markets, particularly in calmer areas in the south of the country. In the East region, in the south of the Center-North and North regions, and in the provinces of Kossi and Sourou (Boucle du Mouhoun region), it is likely that the IDPs and host households that abandoned their fields due to insecurity do not have sufficient harvests to maintain normal food consumption levels. Similarly, sales from cash crops and labor income for harvesting will not be enough to rebuild livelihoods deeply affected by looting and over-selling of livestock in response to the lean season. Poor households and IDPs in these areas will remain exposed to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity.

A seasonal drop in food prices could be observed during the projection period, but levels will remain above average due to the expected drop in production, high demand for institutional and private restocking, and the additional effects of high global prices. Poor urban households, particularly in the capital, are expected to observe a continued deterioration in their purchasing power and be forced to reduce their dietary diversity.

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.
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