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Stressed acute food insecurity in the agropastoral north of the country

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Burkina Faso
  • May 2014
Stressed acute food insecurity in the agropastoral north of the country

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through September 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Market dependent, poor agropastoral households in northern Burkina Faso are experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity through September. Confronted with a decline in their purchase power due to high staple food prices while their seasonal incomes are limited, they have difficulty in meeting their livelihood protection needs.
    • Agropastoralists in the same part of the country are experiencing a longer and more difficult lean season than normal due to limited grazing and water resources for their animals. As a result, animals are in a poor physical condition and terms of trade are down.
    • In the rest of the country, well supplied markets, stable cereal prices, access to wild foods and average to above-average labor revenues offer favorable conditions to allow poor households to experience a typical lean season between June and September.

    Current Situation
    • There are good market supplies for foods across the country, particularly in regards to cereal supplies.  Inventories from wholesale trader and farmers’ association (estimated at approximately 53,000 metric tons) are 77 percent above average and are further bolstered by maize imports from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire (averaging over 2,000 metric tons per month since January). In addition, the government is continuing to regularly restock its 180 boutiques across the country, selling maize and rice at subsidized prices.
    • In general, there is a near-normal household demand for cereals on local markets, held in check by remaining cereal stocks from previous harvests. Monthly exports to Niger (approximately 4,500 metric tons of maize and sorghum) and coastal countries (approximately 300 MT of millet and 1,500 MT of cowpeas) are also about average. However, there is a higher market demand for millet and sorghum by poor households in the Sahel Region and adjacent areas, where existing stocks of crops were depleted earlier than usual.
    • In general, cereal prices are stable compared to last month and six to 10 percent lower than last year, a year when prices were exceptionally high. Maize prices are 10 percent below the five-year average, while millet and sorghum prices are similar to their respective averages. However, price levels in northern agropastoral areas (in and around the Sahel Region) where poor households are more dependent on market purchase are above the five-year average by seven to 19 percent in the case of millet and by eight to 22 percent in the case of sorghum (the two staple cereals for local populations).
    • Current grazing and watering conditions for livestock in northern agropastoral areas are extremely poor due to the shortage of pasture and animal watering ares. Stocks of crop residues meant to carry livestock through the lean season are nearly depleted and the purchasing of agro-industrial byproducts as animal feed supplements has become a necessity. There are good supplies of these products on local markets but, in spite of ongoing subsidized sales by regional Departments for Livestock Resources (769 metric tons in Sahel and 345 metric tons in Centre-Nord), driven by high demand prices are 20 to 30 percent above-average (7,000 to 9,000 CFAF for a 50 kilogram sack). These grazing and watering problems faced by livestock since March, a full month earlier than usual, are affecting their physical condition, particularly in the case of sheep and cattle. Animals are being forced to travel an average of 20 kilometers between grazing areas (along the Malian border) and existing watering holes (Oursi Lake, the Christy borehole, the Beli River, and major dams), which is further contributing to the deterioration in their physical condition.
    • The main sources of household income in this agropastoral zone are sales of animals, migrant remittances, gold panning activities, and farm labor. Based on the large numbers of recipients seen at local financial institutions, there are higher than usual levels of remittance income. Income levels from wage labor (mainly in livestock-raising activities) are near-average. In general, prices for livestock are close to the five-year average but down from last year due to their poor physical conditions and the growing supply of animals on livestock markets. Prices for goats and sheep on the Djibo market (in Soum province), for example, have dropped by 15 percent and three percent, respectively. As a result, terms of trade are down from last year by 15 percent and are approximately 20 percent below-average. Poor households in the rest of the country are generating average to above-average levels of income from sales of bush products, of which there is a normal supply, or from wage labor in land preparation work.
    • Ongoing operations by the country’s food security partners are focused on cash-for-work activities and treatment programs for children under five years of age and pregnant or breast-feeding women suffering from acute malnutrition based at health facilities.

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation is in line with the assumptions used by FEWS NET in establishing the most likely scenario for the period from April through September 2014. A full discussion of this scenario can be found in the Food Security Outlook for April through September 2014.

    Projected Outlook through September 2014

    With the good availability of staple cereals at prices close to the five-year average, most poor households across the country will face a normal lean season. In addition, as usual, the availability of bush products, fruits and nuts (mangoes, shea nuts, grapes, carob beans, etc.) between May and August will contribute to household food access. Likewise, with a normal start-of-season, wage income from agriculture labor, which generally begins to intensify as the beginning of May, will facilitate household food purchasing.

    On the other hand, poor market-dependent households in and around the Sahel Region will continue to have difficulty meeting their livelihood protection needs and will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of acute food insecurity through September. Even with the improvement in animal grazing and watering conditions beginning in July (better body conditions and milk availability), with staple food prices at levels above the five-year average, they will be faced with continued below-average terms of trade for their livestock.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2


    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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