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Normal food security conditions for very poor and poor households

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Burkina Faso
  • March 2013
Normal food security conditions for very poor and poor households

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through June 2013
  • Key Messages
    • For at least 80 percent of very poor and poor households, above-normal cereal stocks and income streams (ex. gold washing, market gardening activities, and the sale of cash crops) should enable adequate food intake through the end of June. Therefore, households in all areas of the country will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity. 

    • In general, limited household recourse to the market to purchase food has kept cereal prices stable since January 2013 and at levels close to or slightly above (by no more than 12 percent) compared to the five-year average. These prices are helping to maintain good household food access.

    • Current institutional cereal demand has not affected normal seasonal price trends. Likewise, food is flowing normally between surplus and deficit production areas, with no major abnormalities noted.   


    Current Situation
    • In general, the food security situation of very poor and poor households is satisfactory. While food stocks from last season's harvests are steadily dwindling, households are still able to primarily rely on their own crop production as their main source of food at this time.    
    • Markets are well-stocked with cereals and normal trade flows are occurring between surplus and deficit production areas. The reported inventories of agricultural trade associations and wholesale traders alone (8,500 metric tons of locally grown cereals plus 1,000 metric tons of cowpeas) are sufficient to cover ongoing procurements for the replenishment of institutional stocks. So far, such procurements do not appear to be contributing to price increases. In general, prices across the country remain stable compared to last month and have declined compared to the same time last year (by less than nine percent). Millet and sorghum prices are above the five-year average by 12 percent and five percent, respectively. Meanwhile maize prices are similar to the average. Staple cereal prices in both areas of concern (livelihood zones 7 and 8 in the Sahelian region) are down from last year by anywhere between two to 21 percent but are similar to or have increased (by less than 26 percent) compared to the five-year average.  
    • While engaging in their normal livelihood strategies, households are better managing their food stocks this year, in response to last year's food security difficulties, by employing the following two strategies: 1) using a portion of their income from gold washing activities or the sale of cash crops to buy cereals on the market for household food consumption in order to save their own crop production for the upcoming lean season (July through September), or 2) growing and selling market garden crops as a way to cover cereal deficits later in the year. These strategies are helping to extend household food stocks for an additional two to three months compared to a normal year.
    • Off-season crop harvests are ongoing in the northern part of the country. Producer prices for these crops are comparable to (in the case of onions and potatoes) or two to three times higher (in the case of tomatoes) than prices at the same time last year or prices during an average year. Gold washing activities are also an alternative source of income in this area, particularly for laborers, and are generating average income levels.
    • In livestock-raising areas of the Sahelian and eastern regions (livelihood zones 7, 8, and 9), markets are seeing strong demand set against a roughly eight to 12 percent smaller supply compared to the same time last year. As a result, prices for bulls, male sheep, and male goats are higher than last year. Current prices are also up from the five-year average by 33 to 44 percent. Due to existing household food stocks, livestock producers are not forced to sell off their animals but on the contrary, are purchasing livestock (bull calves and heifers) in an effort to rebuild their herds. There is also normal livestock demand from traders exporting to Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire.  
    • Ongoing assistance programs are focused mainly on the prevention or treatment of malnutrition and livelihood protection for households affected by last year’s food security difficulties. The government and its humanitarian partners are continuing to provide food and nonfood assistance for the country’s 48,648 Malian refugees and their animals (54,488 heads of livestock, according to the latest count). Certain refugee camps are in the process of being relocated from Damba to Mentao to facilitate various assistance efforts. Local governments are continuing to conduct awareness programs aimed at host populations in livestock grazing areas to avert potential problems over the sharing of local pasture and water resources.

    Updated Assumptions

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


    Projected Outlook through June 2013
    • Markets should continue to function normally over the next several months. Cereal prices will follow normal seasonal trends, with prices in surplus-production areas edging upwards by five to 10 percent between now and June/July. Market prices in deficit production areas of the Sahelian and northern regions could also rise by as much as 10 to 15 percent.
    • Income-generating activities should enable households to maintain their normal food access and as a result, households are not expected to engage in any harmful coping strategies. Moreover, the normal availability of fruits and nonwoody forest products between May and August should help improve the household diet. The drying up of watering holes and the growing scarcity of pasture will cause pastoral households to have seasonal difficulties feeding and watering their livestock animals. However, these problems should not be as severe as last year as markets are well-stocked with agro-industrial byproducts whose stable or falling prices will help make these products more affordable to households. Furthermore, there should be no need for any emergency food assistance beyond the usual ongoing annual assistance provided under resilience-building and malnutrition prevention programs and the scheduled deliveries of aid to the country’s refugee population. Thus, at least 80 percent of very poor and poor households should face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity through June 2013. 
    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    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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