Food Security Outlook Update

Poor households are becoming less dependent on the market

November 2012

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

  • Very poor and poor households are primarily consuming food from their own household food stocks, which were recently replenished with crops from this season’s average to above-average harvests. At this time, over 80 percent of households are able to meet their food and non-food needs without resorting to unusual coping strategies and are therefore facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity conditions.  

  • Staple cereal prices have declined (by four to 14 percent) since their peak at the height of the lean season in August, although prices remain about 27 to 65 percent above the five-year average. Prices are expected to continue to decline through the end of December as additional crops from the recent harvests are marketed. 

Current Situation

  • Harvests of most cereal crops and pulses are nearly completed, and food security conditions are steadily improving as households rebuilt their food stocks. As a result, households are becoming less dependent on market purchases for their food.  
  • Despite households becoming less reliant on the market for food purchases, retail prices for staple cereals (millet, sorghum, and corn) remain high (183 to 262 CFAF/kg). This is because market supplies are still not large enough to counterbalance the ongoing high food prices, which have been present in Burkina Faso since the beginning of the year. Compared to last year at this time and the five-year average, prices are currently 23 to 52 percent and 27 to 65 percent higher this year, respectively. An exception is the Diapaga market (in livelihood zone 9) where prices have declined significantly compared with last year (-22 to -61 percent) and the five-year average (-2 to -39 percent). The Diapago market does not normally experience particularly high prices nor does it usually see drastic prices drops from one year to another. However, good harvests in the region surrounding this market compared with last year at this time have caused the recent price declines.
  • Two important sources of household income, especially for middle-income and better-off households, are cash crop sales and livestock sales (particularly small ruminants). Currently, prices for cash crops (cowpeas, groundnuts, and sesame) are high and are about 44 to 56 percent above the five-year average. In addition, livestock prices (on the Djibo, Fada, Dori, and Pouytenga livestock markets) are approximately four to 47 percent above the five-year average. The presence of foreign buyers from Nigeria, Ghana, and Côte-d’Ivoire at livestock markets within Burkina Faso have contributed to higher levels of demand, resulting in the higher livestock prices.
  • In cotton-producing areas, demand for local labor for ongoing harvesting activities is unusually high due to an increase in the land area planted in cotton this year (projected to be 52.5 percent above the five-year average). Daily agricultural wage rates in areas with gold mines (livelihood zones 8, 7, and 5) are also up by 33 percent compared to the five-year average as higher-paying mining jobs have attracted laborers away from the agricultural workforce.
  • The global acute malnutrition rate (10.9 percent) is still a source of concern, although this rate has been relatively stable for the past three years according to the preliminary findings of the SMART survey conducted in September of this year. Global acute malnutrition rates are particularly high (ranging from 12 to 15 percent) in the following areas: Kossi and Nayala provinces (in livelihood zone 4), and Bam, Sanmentenga, and Kourweogo provinces (in livelihood zone 5).
  • Household food stocks, which normally are sufficient to cover the consumption needs of very poor and poor households for approximately three to five months, are expected to last at least five to eight months this year. Most households are expected to be able to meet their essential food and non-food needs without resorting to any unusual coping strategies and therefore face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity conditions. 

Updated Assumptions

The current situation has not affected the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET's most likely scenario for the period of October 2012 to March 2013. A full discussion of the scenario is available in the most recent Food Security Outlook.

Projected Outlook through March 2013

  • Given that households have access to crops from the recent, above-average harvests, they are gradually replenishing their stocks, and are becoming less dependent on the market for food staples. Food security conditions are improving and at least 80 percent of the population in all administrative subdivisions and livelihood zones will be able to meet their essential food and livelihood protection needs throughout the entire outlook period. Most poor households will face Minimal/None (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity conditions between now and March 2013 (Figure 2).
  • There should be no need for any emergency interventions beyond normal, annual assistance programs. With ongoing malnutrition prevention programs for children between the ages of six and 24 months, global acute malnutrition rates should stabilize or decline.  
  • Unusually high levels of farm (from crop sales) and non-farm income, due to the good harvest outlook and above-average prices, should enable households to rebuild their livelihoods, particularly middle-income and better-off households. However, very poor and poor households, who were hardest hit by food insecurity during the past few months, will give top priority to paying off their debts, which normally account for two to four percent of household expenditures. Thus these households will require assistance in rebuilding their assets before next year’s lean season, which generally begins in July. 

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