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A less difficult lean season for poor households

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Burkina Faso
  • September 2013
A less difficult lean season for poor households

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through December 2013
  • Key Messages
    • The resumption of regular rainfall since late July has allowed for satisfactory crop growth, and the national cereal harvest is expected to be at least average. Green harvesting has already begun among households with access to early millet, maize, raw groundnuts, and tubers.

    • Acute food insecurity is Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in all livelihood zones. Continuing multi-year assistance programs, the beginning of the green harvest, seasonal income, animal prices above the five-year average, and stable prices for staple foods are all mitigating the normal impact of the lean season and ensuring that poor households have access to food.

    • The continuation of seasonal rains through the end of September is likely in the north (Sahelian, Northern, and North-Central regions), with a likely late-October end in the rest of the country. This forecast is required to ensure full maturation of crops and at least average yields throughout the country.


    Current Situation
    • Rainfall totals for the last three dekads are normal or above-normal in most of the country. The regular rainfall observed since July continued through mid-September, allowing crops to make up for delayed growth in some areas, especially in the North-Central region. In early September, localized seasonal flooding affected 13,000 people (1,610 households) in five regions (East, Sahel, Hauts Bassins, Boucle du Mouhoun, and Center).
    • Despite generally average seasonal progress, some areas in the provinces bordering Côte d’Ivoire (Comoé, Leraba, Poni, Noubiel) and Ghana (Nahouri) have received lower-than-normal precipitation. The shortage could negatively affect crop yields, especially for maize and cotton. Conditions are being monitored. FEWS NET will update the impact on crops as more information becomes available.
    • Poor households are currently depending more on market purchase following the near total exhaustion of food reserves from 2012, although market purchase has been less important the normal since surpluses from the 2012 harvest have led to less market dependence than is usually seen during the lean season. Moreover, the availability of milk, especially in the Sahel region, and multi-year food aid operations currently underway (sale at subsidized prices, free distribution, money transfers, blanket feeding) are facilitating food access for poor households in areas of concern. Subsidized cereal sales between August and October are aimed primarily at the estimated 63,000 poor households targeted in the government’s resilience-building plan. This figure is eighty percent lower than during the same period in 2012. Acute food insecurity is currently Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in all of the country’s livelihood zones.
    • Staple cereals are readily available on the markets and prices have been stable since July. Merchants are selling off their stocks as they are concerned about a sales slump due to the good prospects for the current harvest. At the national level, maize prices are 9 percent below the five-year average. Sorghum prices (down 2 percent) and millet prices (up 2 percent) are relatively stable. In current areas of concern in the Sahel region (zones 7 and 8), price deviations from the five-year average are more or less normal, with millet prices rising by 14 percent on the Dori market, 8 percent on the Djibo market, and 6 percent on the Gorom-Gorom market.  Sorghum prices are increasing by 7 percent on the Djibo market and 6 percent at Gorom-Gorom. Households consider the prices to be affordable.
    • Income earning activities are providing higher revenues than usual. These activities currently consist primarily of gold panning and the sale of milk, guinea fowl eggs and animals (small ruminants and poultry). Producers are earning close to the five-year average for a liter of milk. The price of a gram of gold at small mining sites (22,000 CFAF) is close to the average for the past three years, and operations continue at these sites despite a prohibition during the rainy season. Animal prices, especially for small ruminants, have risen above the five-year average by 4 to 38 percent. This can be explained by good animal conditions and by demand for animal fattening for resale during the Tabaski and New Year holidays. This price increase is improving the terms of trade for livestock farmers, who are earning between 135 and 157 kg of millet for a whole sahelian male goat in good condition.

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not fundamentally changed the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the period from July to December 2013. Current conditions match the analysis, and the main assumptions continue to support the most likely scenario discussed in the Food Security Outlook for July to December 2013.


    Projected Outlook through December 2013

    September marks the more widespread appearance of new crops (cowpeas, fonio, early millet, maize, and raw groundnuts). This availability improves poor households’ access to food, as does the availability of milk and non-wood forest products, and occasional aid for some very poor households from the government and its partners. For these reasons, households are currently experiencing Minimal food insecurity (IPC Phase 1). If the farming season proceeds normally until the end of September, households will be able to replenish their stores beginning in October and conditions will favor a decrease in market prices for food between October and December. Therefore, between October and December, poor households are expected to experience normal food conditions throughout the country and food insecurity will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Source:

    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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