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The blockade of the commune of Djibo in Soum province - home to around 300,000 people - has been ongoing for 18 months, and typical sources of food and income have become increasingly rare. Continued deliveries of food aid, which have increased to reach more than 30 percent of the population of Djibo on average since March, are essential to the population's survival. However, according to key informant reports, levels of hunger, acute malnutrition, and mortality remain alarmingly high. During the lean season, from June to September, FEWS NET believes that Emergency ! (IPC Phase 4 !) is the most likely outcome in Djibo, a classification that indicates that food assistance is the main factor preventing Famine (IPC Phase 5). While the lean season is when needs are greatest, the severity of hunger will decrease only marginally during the post-harvest period, and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected between October and January.
The number of communes under blockade elsewhere in the north continues to grow. Recurring shortages of basic foodstuffs, persistent record high prices, and the erosion of assets continue to expose IDPs and poor host households to major consumption gaps and the practice of extreme survival strategies, given the abnormal recourse to wild products and cases of begging. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes, with some households in a Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) are expected in Soum, Oudalan, and the communes of Sebba, Solhan, and Mansila in Yagha province.
Although the seasonal forecasts are generally favourable for agricultural activities, households' access to their fields will be reduced compared to normal throughout the country, due to the growing number of IDPs, the higher number of communes under blockade, and reprisals against civilians, including in production areas in the Est, Centre-Est and Boucle du Mouhoun regions, which will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2).
Although not the most likely scenario, FEWS NET anticipates that a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) will persist in Djibo until at least January. This risk is highest between June and September, when the prevention of Famine (IPC Phase 5) depends on the delivery of food aid by helicopter to the population of Djibo, and the continuation of deliveries depends on security and logistical conditions. If aid deliveries are severely disrupted - whether due to interference from armed groups, reduced helicopter capacity, or delays in flight clearance - Famine (IPC Phase 5) could occur. Given the size of the population in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) during the post-harvest period from October to January, there will remain a risk that any intensification of the conflict further restricting crops, market supplies, and aid will lead to Famine (IPC Phase 5). Food aid deliveries must not only be maintained, but also increased in order to limit the loss of human life and put an end to the risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in Djibo.
In February and April 2023, FEWS NET warned that the blockaded commune of Djibo was facing severe food shortages and assessed that the commune was at risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) if armed groups intensified their attacks and further restricted the population's access to food. Available data indicated that the population relied mainly on market gardening around the Djibo dam, wild food gathering, limited amounts of humanitarian food aid, and irregular market supplies to survive, while there were significant food consumption deficits, visible signs of wasting, and atypical levels of hunger-related deaths.
Since then, the availability of food and typical sources of income have become increasingly precarious. In June, the population endured an 18-month blockade, and armed terrorist groups continue to restrict households' access to arable land and hinder trade, the functioning of markets and financial services. According to key informants, the 2022 harvest only provided 1 to 2 months' worth of stocks, and many households are destitute, having sold or lost their livestock much earlier during the blockade. Market gardening along the dam and the harvesting of wild foods are no longer possible, due to the seasonal shortage of water from April to June. Three months elapsed between the market supply deliveries of March 21 and those of June 20 - made possible only by an armed escort - leading to prolonged shortages of basic products such as cereals, oil, and sugar, and pushing up the resale prices of millet, maize, and sorghum to 125-260 percent above average in May. Even after these deliveries, prices remained unaffordable for many poor households, and the next convoy is not expected for 3 to 4 months. The government's ban on gold panning and cash transfers is a further obstacle to household access to cash, with the exception of a minority of households who receive cash transfers from relatives living outside Soum province via informal networks. Begging is a common practice and key informants suggest that some people risk their lives - given the threats of abuse, kidnapping, and killing by armed terrorist groups - to leave the blockaded area to collect firewood to earn an income and bring back food and water for their families.
Source: FEWS NET with data from the WFP, Food Security Cluster
In this context, deliveries of humanitarian food aid by air (Figure 1) are now considered to be the main source of food available to the population of Djibo, particularly during the lean season from June to September. FEWS NET anticipates that Emergency ! (IPC Phase 4 !) is the most likely outcome until September, and Famine (IPC Phase 5) is likely to occur in the absence of food assistance. Although new household survey data are not available, a FEWS NET analysis using the Household Economy Approach suggests that very poor and poor populations face kilocalorie deficits in excess of 50 percent in the absence of food assistance, indicative of extreme hunger. Key informants also report that visible signs of malnutrition persist. To alleviate calorie deficits, the WFP has doubled air deliveries of food aid to reach between 30 and 40 percent of the population of Djibo on average between March and September, compared with an average of around 20 percent between October 2022 and February 2023, with a ration that covers 50 percent of monthly needs. Key informants suggest that direct beneficiaries share their rations with other community members who are in need. However, given the scarcity of aircraft for deliveries and the associated logistical and financial constraints, the risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) persists, and Famine (IPC Phase 5) will be likely if aid deliveries decrease significantly, become irregular in frequency, or cease.
It is imperative that donors, the government, and humanitarian partners not only prioritise the provision of vital food aid to Djibo to prevent Famine (IPC Phase 5), but also increase deliveries of aid to help to mitigate the loss of life associated with Emergency ! (IPC Phase 4 !) outcomes. Although the period from June to September is when needs are greatest, food aid deliveries must also be maintained to put an end to the risk of hunger-related deaths at least until the beginning of next year. Nutritional and health aid are also urgently needed, but humanitarian access constraints may prevent a multi-sectoral response; the top priority is therefore to ensure the continuation of adequate food aid deliveries. As the blockade shows no sign of ending, acute food insecurity will remain severe even during the typical harvest and post-harvest period from October to January, when Emergency (IPC Phase 4) results are expected. Plans are in place to maintain similar levels of food assistance over this period, but funding for this aid is not yet guaranteed. Stocks from rain-fed cereal and vegetable production near the Djibo dam will only partially and temporarily offset any drop in this emergency food source. In addition, if attacks by armed groups intensify and prevent households from taking part in agricultural activities during the rainy season and disrupt the market and humanitarian deliveries even more than expected, Famine (IPC Phase 5) could still occur during the harvest period.
Security situation: For eight years now, armed terrorist groups (ATGs) affiliated to the Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM) and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) have been trying to impose and extend their control over the country's territories by stepping up looting, atrocities, killings, and the destruction of road and telecommunications infrastructures. Over the last eight months, the level of conflict has remained very high, with the Burkinabe army stepping up its counter-offensive tactics. Since November 2022, the country's Defence and Security Forces (FDS) have undergone an internal reorganisation, creating six additional military regions, six gendarmerie regions and two additional air zones. They have also introduced new rapid intervention measures and supported the recruitment of 50,000 new Homeland Defence Volunteers ('volontaires de défense de la patrie', VDP). In early 2023, the FDS carried out a series of successful operations against the JNIM, destroying a number of its strongholds. Since mid-March 2023, ground operations by the FDS have increased and air and drone strikes against fixed ATG positions are becoming more frequent. To mitigate the risk of insecurity, the government has also banned gold panning, particularly in the Sahel region, and since the start of the year, cash transfers by humanitarian agencies to the local population have also been suspended in the Sahel, Centre-Nord and Est regions.
Despite the losses suffered by the ATGs in terms of personnel and logistics, they continue to demonstrate their ability to move around the country. Although the number of security incidents involving armed terrorist groups decreased by 26 percent between January and April 2023 compared to the same period last year, the number of associated casualties increased by 134 percent over the same period, according to ACLED (Figure 2). This means that the conflict is more deadly both in the ranks of the FDS and VDP, and in the ranks of the ATGs, but also among civilians. The conflict is also continuing to cause new population displacements, estimated at over 200,000 between January and April 2023 (OCHA/GCORR). Although these new cases of displacement are down by around 20 percent over the period compared to last year, the country still has a cumulative and growing number of IDPs, estimated at over 2.06 million in March 2023 (SP/CONASUR).
Increasingly, the activity of armed groups is characterised by the imposition of blockades around communes, limiting not only humanitarian access, but also market supplies and even the population's ability to leave the commune. While around 30 communes are also subject to blockades, the current blockade of Djibo has been the longest and most restrictive, with militant groups seeking total control over the area. Extreme restrictions on population movements have also been observed in the communes of Tin Akoff, Deou, Titao, Sebba, Arbinda, Kelbo, Pama, and Kompienga. In these blockaded communes, it is only possible to supply markets or deliver aid by military escort or by air (Figure 3).
Source: FEWS NET, with data from the Food Security Cluster, WFP, EarlFy Warning System, ACLED
As well as blockading the communes, the ATGs control the main supply routes Kaya-Dori, Dori-Sebba, Dori-Arbinda, Gorom-Markoye, Kongoussi-Djibo, Ouahigouya-Titao-Djibo, Dédougou-Nouna-Djibasso, Dédougou-Tougan, Yako-Tougan, Fada-Gayéri, Fada-Kantchari, Fada-Pama. They also carry out reprisals against civilians, whom they accuse of complicity, such as dozens of assassinations in several communes: Tchériba in the Boucle de Mouhoun, Karma in the commune of Ouahigouya, Kourakou and Tondobi in the commune of Seytenga, and in the commune of Partiaga in the Tapoa.
Agro-pastoral season: although rain was recorded from April in the Sud-Ouest region, late regeneration of the pasture was observed, due to the poor temporal distribution of the rain. As of 21 June, several localities in Centre and Nord had not started sowing. Furthermore, despite a slight fall of 15 to 20 percent compared to the previous season, fertiliser prices are still around 40 to 50 percent higher than the average. Although the government has planned to sell more than 21,000 tonnes of fertiliser to farmers on a subsidised basis, this has not yet been implemented due to delays in acquiring the fertiliser. In addition to population displacements reducing the number of farmers, insecurity and threats of ATG reprisals are preventing households from accessing their fields for agricultural work, particularly in seven of the country's 13 regions (Sahel, Nord, Centre-Nord, Est, Boucle du Mouhoun, Hauts-Bassins, and Cascades).
Livestock stocks are almost depleted in blockaded areas as a result of looting by the ATGs, or excessive destocking either to cope with the lack of food or to avoid losses. Overall, the deteriorating security situation is preventing livestock movements, which remain concentrated around accessible areas. As a reminder, since the start of the conflict, large-scale livestock farmers have taken refuge in neighbouring countries to the south. This is having a negative impact on the local supply of milk and the demand for labour in livestock farming, particularly in the Sahel, Nord, and Est regions.
Sources of income: insecurity continues to limit people's access to usual sources of income. Market garden production, which generally intensifies between January and April, has seen a drop in performance this year due to limited access to production sites in the north, high fertiliser costs, production losses following disruptions in the supply of fuel for irrigation, and the fall in prices (20 to 30 percent) of market garden produce linked to difficult access to production sites for foreign buyers. Overall, revenues from this source are below average. Restrictions on movement have also reduced the practice of collecting and selling timber and non-timber forest products, especially in the regions most affected by insecurity.
The relatively peaceful areas to the south and west have become magnets, especially for IDPs, for gold panning and agricultural labour. However, demand for this labour is lower than average, partly because of the increased use of herbicides in agriculture, and partly because of the drop in income recorded by cotton growers after last year's crop losses due to jassid attacks. In urban centres, the sectors that usually provide labour for rural exodus, notably the building and public works sector, are experiencing a slowdown compared to normal due to the unfavourable economic situation linked to the effects of the insecurity on flows, tourism, and mining activities.
Source: FEWS NET
Functioning of markets and food prices: The overall situation on the markets for agricultural products is marked, on the one hand, by a slowdown in internal flows due to threats and control of the main routes by ATGs and, on the other hand, by a drop in outflows due to the government's ban on cereal and cowpea exports from 2021. In the relatively calmer production areas, particularly in the south and west of the country, cereal supplies on the markets are average, as producers, as usual at this time of year, are destocking in order to acquire inputs and equipment for the agricultural campaign. In the cereal assembly centres (Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Pouytenga, Dédougou), the supply of cereals is higher than in the same period in 2022, due to difficulties in transferring stocks to the deficit areas in the north. However, supply remains below average due to the structural reduction in production caused by the conflict.
The number of markets requiring convoys under military escort has increased in 2023, because in addition to the markets in the provinces of Loroum, Soum, Yagha, and Kompienga, those in the provinces of Sourou and Komandjoari and the movement of goods along the Kaya-Dori axis require escorts (Figure 4). Increased threats on the axes and the planting of explosive devices are lengthening supply times, which have risen from an average of 2-3 months in 2022 to 3-4 months in 2023, leading to more frequent shortages of basic foodstuffs. The recent supplies to the Sebba (21 May) and Djibo (20 June) markets took place 4 and 3 months respectively after the previous ones.
With the exception of blockaded areas, local cereal prices in May showed slight to moderate declines compared with the record levels seen last year. However, compared with the five-year average, prices are up overall: over 40 percent for millet, almost 40 percent for sorghum, and over 30 percent for maize. Record seasonal variations compared with the average persist in certain markets of the areas under blockade exposed to shortages. In Djibo, maize and millet prices have risen by 150 percent and 261 percent respectively. In Sebba, the price of sorghum is up 175 percent. However, on the main markets in the Est region, which are also difficult to access, slight to moderate falls were seen in May compared with the average, or the food aid currently being provided in the region is helping to reduce household demand on the markets. In addition, the current ban on cereal and cowpea exports and the deteriorating security situation preventing informal outflows to neighbouring countries (Niger, Benin) are also leading to a fall in demand and prices on the region's markets.
Overall, at national level, the high levels of the consumer price index observed since last year persisted in May with an index of 124.1, a level similar to May 2022. Household purchasing power continues to be negatively affected by various factors, including insecurity, the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian crisis, recent price hikes on drinks, motorbikes, and vehicles, along with the increase in fuel prices.
Livestock prices: Insecurity continues to negatively affect the functioning of livestock markets. In addition to the main markets that were closed in 2022, such as Djibo, Sebba, Markoye, and Titao, there is the Youba market in the Nord region. In addition, the Dori and Gorom-Gorom markets are becoming difficult for buyers to visit because of the threats to access routes. In addition to access difficulties, the erosion of household livestock assets, particularly in the Nord and Sahel regions, is having a negative impact on market supplies. In the Dori and Kaya markets, which are still visited by international buyers, the quantity of animals showcased per market day has decreased for all species compared to the previous year. This decline is attributed to increased challenges in accessing the areas from which the animals are procured, primarily due to security concerns.
Due to the closure of markets and the fall in supply, livestock prices are generally up on the average for the last 5 years, particularly on the more accessible markets. For example, in the Dori and Kaya markets, cattle prices in May were stable and up 24 percent respectively. Ram prices are up 38 percent on both markets, while billy goat prices are down 17 percent in Dori and up 19 percent in Kaya. Compared to the same period in 2022, prices are also up slightly, except for a 14 percent fall in the price of billy goats in Dori. Notwithstanding these increases, the terms of trade between billy goats and cereals deteriorated by 35 percent in Dori and 14 percent in Kaya compared to the five-year average, due to the further rise in cereal prices.
Food assistance: Delivering food assistance for IDPs and poor host households remains a challenge due to security constraints limiting humanitarian access and financial and logistical constraints linked to the increase in communes requiring assistance to be delivered under military escort or by air. These logistical constraints include the inadequacy and low capacity of the helicopters available for transporting supplies, and the requirement to register each flight with the army. As a result, intervention plans are generally not implemented on time and do not reach the target number of beneficiaries. The assistance delivered from April to June affected an average of 35 percent of the population in Loroum, 30 percent of the population in Soum, and 23 percent of the population in Komondjari per month. In the other provinces, it affected less than 25 percent of the population. The monthly rations distributed during the period aimed to cover 50 percent of needs. In practice, however, beneficiaries often make voluntary redistributions to non-beneficiaries. They also limit food portions in order to extend the life of their stocks.
Current food security outcomes
With recurrent shortages, persistent record high food prices, and erosion of assets, food assistance remains an essential source of emergency food to alleviate the scale of the kilocalorie deficits for poor IDPs and hosts in most of the blockaded areas in the north of the country. With the exception of the communes of Titao and Djibo, it is not issued on a regular and sufficient basis in the other areas, so poor households continue to engage in risky activities by crossing the security lines in search of firewood for sale and wild produce for consumption. In many areas under blockade, such as most of the communes of Soum and Oudalan, Mansila, Sebba, and Solhan in Yagha, and some communes in the Loroum provinces, selling water is one of the only options left to poor households to earn money, and begging is also practised by a large number of households. Few households receive money transfers from relatives living outside the area. Income from these sources is low and insufficient to enable households to buy basic foodstuffs, which are atypically expensive and in short supply because they are only sold by a small number of traders. According to key informants, the majority of households limit the number of meals to one (1) and reduce food portions or reduce adult consumption in favour of children.
Based on the severity of the food and income deficits and the prolonged duration of the resulting kilocalorie deficits, FEWS NET estimates that there is likely to be at least a small portion of the population facing Catastrophe food insecurity (IPC Phase 5) in these blockaded areas. In addition, key informants report that visible cases of malnutrition persist among the population in all these areas. Although data on the admission of malnourished children is incomplete due to the closure or malfunction of health centres, increases in cases of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) were observed between January and March in the districts of Djibo, Gorom-Gorom, and Sebba (Nutrition Cluster) (Figure 5).
In the commune of Djibo, where the blockade has been in place for 18 months, the ongoing aid is considered to be the main source of food available. The typical onset of the lean season in June has been disrupted this year, as sources of food and income have been scarce for several months prior. FEWS NET believes that Emergency ! (IPC Phase 4 !) is the most likely outcome from June to September, meaning that households depend on food aid to survive and that assistance is probably the main factor preventing acute food insecurity outcomes from deteriorating further. The significant quantities of recent food aid are likely preventing Famine (IPC Phase 5).
In the provinces of Oudalan and Yagha, assistance is insufficient to prevent Emergency (IPC Phase 4), where households have exhausted their productive assets and do not have the capacity to carry out their typical livelihood activities, except around the main towns of the communes. Increases in cases of malnutrition, and the possibility of hunger-related deaths, persist in these communes. In Loroum province, aid is more widespread and the majority of households cultivate small areas of market gardening around the Titao dam. Nevertheless, people continue to face Crisis ! (IPC Phase 3 !) outcomes nd limit the number of meals per day to one, turning to more specialised foods, as the aid provided only covers half of their requirements, and the utilisation of market garden produce falls short in compensating for the deficit in essential food items.
In provinces facing challenges in accessibility and hosting a significant number of IDPs, such as Yatenga in the Nord region, Sourou and Kossi in the Boucle du Mouhoun, the provinces of the Centre-Nord region, Gourma and Kompienga in the Est region, both IDPs and economically disadvantaged host households rely more heavily on the market. This market is sustained through support from escorts or informal cross-border flows from neighbouring countries. Although food availability is higher in these regions, household incomes remain low due to limited movement or loss of income sources as a result of displacement. Aid delivered over the last three months in each of these provinces has reached an average of less than 20 percent of the population. Poor IDPs and hosts are forced to limit the number, quantity, and quality of meals per day. They continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity.
In urban centres, particularly in the capital, household purchasing power is adversely affected by high food and non-food prices, rising transport costs, and the cost of cooking energy (wood, coal, gas). There has been a greater reliance on non-household consumption, known as 'street consumption'. This deterioration in purchasing power means that poor households are more interested in cheaper foodstuffs (imported rice instead of local cereals, horse mackerel instead of meat) and have a less diversified diet. The latter remain exposed to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity.
In the relatively calmer production areas of the south and west, where subsistence activities are little disrupted, poor households continue to have typical access to food based mainly on their own production. They also have typical access to non-timber forest products (shea, néré, grapes) and green vegetables, which are available after the season has set in. Despite the drop in income, the majority of poor households are managing to maintain their usual coping strategies and are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.
Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
The most likely scenario for food security from June 2023 to January 2024 is based on the following fundamental assumptions, in relation to changes in the national context:
- Conflict and insecurity: faced with the ongoing FDS offensive against the positions of armed terrorist groups, the latter are expected to step up punitive reprisals against civilians. The frequency and intensity of ATG attacks are likely to increase to the highest levels since the start of the conflict in 2016, until the peak of the rainy season in July 2023. Given the rainy season, the mobility of ATGs should be reduced between July and October, but levels of violence could still be higher than those seen in previous years. The same applies to the period from November 2023 to January 2024, during which these groups could resume their mobility. Threats and atrocities by the ATGs are likely to continue to cause internal displacement or prevent the return of significant numbers of IDPs to their places of origin, and to cause major disruption to local markets and agro-pastoral activities.
- Seasonal forecasts: the seasonal forecasts (PRESASS) issued by the National Meteorological Agency (ANAM) reveal average to above-average rainfall expected across the country during the rainy season from June to September, with nevertheless below-average to normal cumulative rainfall in the south-east and south-west. Rainfall is also expected to set in normally or later than the averages for the period 1991-2020 across the whole country. As for the end of the rainy season, it could be normal to late in the northern half of the country and normal to early in the south. In addition, dry spells of medium to long duration and long to medium duration are expected at the start and end of the season respectively. Higher-than-average runoff in the extreme northern and eastern regions or in the central and western parts of the country has the potential to result in localised flooding across the country.
- Economic situation: the continuing Russian-Ukrainian conflict could continue to disrupt the supply chain for imported products (hydrocarbons, fertilisers, wheat flour, and edible oil) and keep domestic food prices high. Similarly, the deterioration in the security situation will continue to have a negative impact on internal flows, limiting people's access to their usual sources of income and economic activities as a whole. Although the rate of inflation is falling, these factors should keep prices at atypical levels, and the cost of living is unlikely to fall significantly.
- Agro-pastoral outlook: although the seasonal forecasts are on the whole favourable for the timely regeneration of pastures (June in the south and July in the north) and for the normal conduct of agricultural activities, households' access to their fields will be reduced compared with the previous season and also with the five-year average across the country. The ATGs continue to maintain the blockade on a larger number of communes, including in the production zones in the Est and Boucle du Mouhoun regions, forcing several villages to abandon their fields, with the main aim of preventing them from producing. In addition, the threat of violence against civilians is restricting the movement of people and the supervision of producers in several regions of the country. In addition, as in previous seasons, the authorities are likely to ban tall crops such as millet and sorghum around towns and along certain roads due to security threats. Moreover, the cost of fertilisers and pesticides is still high, and this could be a limiting factor for planting, especially cereal crops such as maize and rice. As was the case last season, growers are likely to substitute crops that require less fertiliser, particularly pulses.
- Income from agricultural labour: in regions with a significant number of IDPs, the labour supply is likely to be greater than usual. However, demand will be lower than normal due to the reduction in acreage as a result of insecurity. Furthermore, in the cotton-growing areas in the west of the country, the losses suffered by growers last season as a result of jassid attacks could limit their ability to maintain or increase their demand for labour. Although no change is expected in daily earnings, the fall in demand will lead to a fall in income compared with normal levels.
- Market functioning: although efforts have been made since the beginning of the year by the FDS to supply several blockaded localities, the ATGs continue to maintain pressure for control of the main market supply routes in the northern half and east of the country. Supplies in these areas should remain dependent on FDS escorts. With the increase in the number of blockaded areas in the country, it is likely that supply delays of more than three months will be maintained and that repeated shortages will be observed, leading to a continuation of the record level of food prices at least until the end of the lean season in September. Overall, the livestock trade should continue to slow down compared with the average over the next few months, due to limited movements and fewer foreign buyers visiting the markets.
Source: FEWS NET
- Staple food prices: with the growing number of IDPs, the gradual depletion of host household stocks, and the larger-than-usual institutional purchases underway (around 77,000 tonnes), demand for cereals will continue to outstrip supply until the end of the lean season in September. As a result, although prices are expected to fall with the harvest, price levels will remain above their seasonal averages over the period (Figure 6). In areas under blockade, record price levels are likely to persist. The supply of foodstuffs should improve between October 2023 and January 2024 thanks to new harvests. However, due to the likely fall in production, it will be below the seasonal average over the period. The demand to meet the needs of IDPs should keep demand higher and consequently price levels above the seasonal average between October and January.
- Livestock prices: on the main accessible markets, demand for animals will continue to outstrip supply, and this will support price levels above the five-year average throughout the period from June 2023 to January 2024. However, in areas where access is difficult, the absence of buyers will prevent households from receiving remunerative prices, and the terms of trade between livestock and cereals will remain deteriorated in these areas throughout the period.
- Food assistance: given the deteriorating security situation, the disruption of markets and the ban on cash transfers in the Sahel and Centre-Nord regions, direct food distribution by military escort or by air is likely to be the main mechanism for providing aid to households over the coming months. Planning for the lean season from June to September should reach at least 20 percent of the population in the Loroum provinces and in all the provinces of the Sahel region. However, observations made in previous months show that food aid distributions are often lower than planned due to security and logistical constraints. Continued or increased insecurity will increase the number of communes dependent on aid, further reducing its adequate provision in general and in blockaded areas in particular. Between October and January, in addition to security and logistics problems, aid could fall due to the suspension of lean season programmes, as has usually been the case over the last five years. However, the areas under blockade, in particular the commune of Djibo, will remain a priority for the distribution of aid. Although plans for October to January show a similar level of aid for these areas, funding is not yet guaranteed.
Most Likely Acute Food Security Outcomes
In the 30 or so areas under blockade, particularly in the Nord and Sahel regions, no change is expected in the sources of household income, which will remain low between June 2023 and January 2024. In addition to humanitarian assistance, which will continue to be the main source of food for IDPs and host households, they will be able to consume wild products available around the towns, particularly from July until October 2023. Out of necessity, some households will be forced to go beyond the safety radius to obtain these products. The food assistance planned between June and August should reach at least 20 percent of the population in the Sahel region and Loroum province each month. However, security and logistical constraints will adversely affect its proper delivery in most of these areas. Humanitarian stakeholders could be forced to focus their efforts on certain localities, as has been the case over the last three months. It is likely that poor households will continue to have significant survival deficits and that the resurgence of waterborne diseases will exacerbate the effects of hunger on acute malnutrition levels.
In the blocked commune of Djibo, IDPs and poor hosts will remain in Emergency ! (IPC Phase 4 !) between June and September, which coincides with the peak of the lean season, when access to food will be extremely low; this classification indicates that food assistance is the main factor preventing worse outcomes and, in a scenario where such assistance is marginal or non-existent, the commune would likely see a rapid deterioration towards Famine (IPC Phase 5). A very limited amount of staple crops, vegetables, and wild foods will be available by October; however, levels of acute food insecurity are expected to remain severe even during the typical harvest and post-harvest period from October to January, when Emergency (IPC Phase 4) results are expected. The food assistance planned for the period should have a similar level of coverage, but the funding for this aid is not yet guaranteed. Stocks from rain-fed cereal and vegetable production near the Djibo dam will only partially and temporarily compensate.
Emergency (IPC Phase 4) will persist in the provinces of Oudalan and Yagha, with the presence of households in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5), where there are several blockaded communes but where the impact and duration of the blockade are less significant than in Djibo, throughout the analysis period. According to key informants, access to fields for agricultural activities will be similar to last season in the provinces of Loroum, Soum, Séno, and Yagha, and will affect only a minority of households. In Oudalan, on the other hand, households will have less access to their fields than in the previous season, as villages in the communes of Déou and Oursi are being abandoned for the town of Gorom-Gorom. As a result, the harvests expected in October are likely to be marginal and should not cover more than two months' requirements. In these areas, aid will continue to be needed to avoid an increase in the number of people in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) between October 2023 and January 2024.
In areas with a large number of IDPs in the Nord, Centre-Nord, Est, and Boucle du Mouhoun regions, poor households have experienced an atypically early lean season since April, due to low production and/or crop losses last year as a result of insecurity. The drop in income from gold panning and market gardening during the dry season will limit their food purchases on the markets, while food prices could remain moderately above their seasonal averages. In these areas, IDPs and poor host households will be forced to increase the sale of their animals, resort to foraging more than usual, and reduce their consumption. An increase in the proportion of households exposed to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is likely between June and September. With limited access to fields, production in these areas will remain below average, but will help to improve food access, particularly for host households between October 2023 and January 2024. Nevertheless, IDPs, particularly in provinces where they represent more than 20 percent of the population such as Gourma and Sanmatenga, will be forced to develop crisis strategies to access food, given the deterioration in their livelihoods and limited movements to generate income.
In urban centres, particularly in the capital, poor households will continue to have inadequate diets due to the above-average seasonal rise in food prices, and will remain exposed to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes between July and September. Although the seasonal fall in local food prices should be seen between October and January next year, economic conditions could remain unfavourable for incomes and inflation at a higher-than-average level. Under these conditions, poor households are unlikely to have a normal diet.
In the relatively calm areas of the south and west, the majority of poor households will continue to have a typical diet based on their own production from the previous season and a reliance on non-timber forest products and other gathered products. According to the results of the food security survey carried out in February (SAP, ENISAN), at least 80 percent of households in these areas have sufficient stocks to last until at least August. The availability of new harvests from October onwards will allow households to remain at Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity until January 2024.
Events that Might Change the Outlook
|Impact on food security conditions
Improved security situation
|An improvement in the security situation will give households greater access to their fields, a gradual return of IDPs, and a better supply of staple foods on local markets, all of which could mitigate the rise in prices. This would also facilitate the deployment of aid and help to improve access to food and reduce the wide gaps in consumption. Although this would not fundamentally change the level of asset erosion during the lean season (June-September), poor IDPs and host households in areas previously affected by the conflict could remain in a situation of Crisis ! acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 !) or lower due to the provision of food aid to reduce consumption gaps. However, from October onwards, with greater access to new harvests and a gradual resumption of income-generating activities, food access conditions will improve, putting IDPs and poor host households in Crisis acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3), or even Stressed (IPC Phase 2).
Regions under blockade
Sustained delivery of large quantities of food aid
|Increased air distribution or the resumption of cash transfers will help to increase aid coverage and reduce the consumption gap between households. As a minimum, humanitarians should increase their aid to reach at least 25 percent of the population and cover at least 25 percent of their monthly kilocalorie needs in order to support the potential improvement from Emergency (IPC Phase 4) to Crisis ! (IPC Phase 3 !) on a regular basis at least until the start of the harvest in September. However, given that the blockade is affecting the majority of the population, and given the extent of the disparities in food consumption, assistance levels should probably be 25 percent higher to prevent Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.
Soum Province of the Sahel Region, Livelihood Zone BF07
Disturbance in the delivery of aid
|In the scenario where ATG interference or humanitarian logistical problems - such as reduced helicopter capacity or delays in obtaining flight clearances from government authorities - significantly delay, reduce, or prevent food aid deliveries by air, a rapid deterioration in levels of acute food insecurity is likely to occur. As a result, civilians would be unable to access more than a marginal level of food and their food consumption deficits would become increasingly extreme. Given the high proportion of the population already facing Emergency acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 4) and the erosion of assets, a reduction or interruption in assistance could expose households to Famine (IPC Phase 5) between June and September.
Soum Province of the Sahel Region, Livelihood Zone BF07
Increase in violence around Djibo
|An increase in violence around Djibo will limit the ability of households to engage in market gardening along the dam, and to leave the town to gather wild foods during the period from October to January, when the marginal contributions from these food sources help to offset the contributions from humanitarian aid. If attacks by armed groups intensify, preventing households from taking part in agricultural activities during the rainy season and disrupting the market and humanitarian deliveries even more than expected, Famine (IPC Phase 5) could still occur during the harvest period.
The city of Djibo has been under blockade for 17 months now. The majority of the population is made up of internally displaced people, who on 31 March 2023 numbered 269,894, or around 90 percent of the commune's population. Most of these people live with host families. Threats of incursions by armed terrorist groups are so recurrent that people's movements around the town are restricted. The large number of IDPs is also putting pressure on the water and sanitation infrastructure, which is operating at a low level.
Source: FEWS NET
Households, particularly IDPs and poor hosts, have exhausted their livestock assets and the blockade is preventing access to other usual sources of income. Households' access to their fields was restricted to 1 to 2 km around the town, so that just two months after the October harvest, stocks were exhausted. According to the province's agricultural department, between 30 and 40 percent of the poor had been able to plant vegetables in small areas on the accessible west side of the dam. However, since May there has been insufficient water, and less than 20 percent of the population continues to grow vegetables. The practice of gold panning is banned, forcing households to turn to other sources of income, which provide only marginal income, unable to meet the basic needs of poor households. Collecting and selling firewood and selling water have become the main sources of income for the majority of poor IDPs and host households. Some risk their lives - given the threats of violence, kidnapping, and killing by armed terrorist groups - to go beyond the security radius to obtain firewood. Cases of begging have also increased in the city. A minority of households receive cash transfers from relatives living outside the province, via informal networks. The suspension of cash assistance in the locality since January is also a factor limiting the purchasing power of poor households.
Difficulties in supplying the province's markets, in particular the Djibo market, which is subject to convoys under military escort, have led to frequent shortages of essential foodstuffs. As a result, there is little supply on the market. Households' low incomes in the face of record prices are not conducive to supplying the market. In May 2023, a kilogram of millet, the staple cereal in the locality, was sold at XOF 757, up 261 percent on the five-year average. Maize and sorghum prices rose by 150 percent and 126 percent respectively compared with the average. In addition to the high price of basic cereals, the prices of other basic necessities are also out of reach for poor households. The price of a litre of oil will rise from XOF 1,500 in 2022 to XOF 3,000 in June 2023. A bag of coal is traded at around XOF 10,000, compared with XOF 2,000 under normal conditions. The market was recently supplied on 20 June 2023, three months after the previous supply. Given the severity of supply shortages and the high transport costs associated with moving products around the region, prices did not fall significantly in June.
Humanitarian food aid has become the main source of food for poor households. In May 2023, 113,216 people, or 38 percent of the commune's population, benefited from food assistance, with each beneficiary household receiving 50 kg of cereals, 4 kg of pulses, and a litre of oil. Over the last three months, aid has reached an average of almost 30 percent of the population. The rations distributed are supposed to meet at least 50 percent of kilocalorie requirements. But in reality, rations are shared voluntarily with non-beneficiaries. In addition, given past experience of disruptions in the delivery of aid, households are cautiously reducing the number of meals and the quantity of meals consumed per day in order to prolong the duration of the stocks received as long as possible. This exposes them to extreme survival deficits.
During the first quarter of 2023, before the increase in humanitarian assistance, the Djibo health district recorded an increasing number of children suffering from severe malnutrition every month. Cases of deaths among children admitted, reaching the critical threshold of 10 percent, were noted in Arbinda, a neighbouring town in Soum province. Key informants report a decrease in cases of children crying at night and a reduction in anecdotal reports of adults dying of starvation following the increase in aid deliveries, illustrating the likely trajectory towards Famine (IPC Phase 5) that Djibo would have faced had food aid not been delivered. In conclusion, food aid is the main factor likely to prevent a further deterioration in the severity of food consumption gaps, acute malnutrition, and mortality. Nevertheless, Emergency ! (IPC Phase 4 !) is still likely to continue in the presence of food assistance, as key informants report that household hunger remains high and there are few other sources of food and income left.
In addition to national assumptions, the scenario in this area of concern is based on the following assumptions:
- Insecurity: despite the air strike operations carried out in the province by the FDS, the ATGs remain active and continue to present threats and control the main access routes. The blockade of the province is likely to persist, limiting supplies to markets and the movement of people to access sources of food and income.
- Agro-pastoral production: despite an expected average rainfall, the continuing insecurity in the province is a limiting factor for agricultural activity. With the continuing blockade, households will have very limited access to their fields, which will lead to a considerable reduction in the area sown. The gradual filling of the dam will enable market garden production to resume between July 2023 and January 2024. However, as was the case last season, insecurity and extremely limited availability and financial access to fertilisers and seeds will drastically limit this activity. The harvests expected from October onwards will only marginally cover requirements for 1 or 2 months. Given the loss of livestock assets and the ongoing blockade, livestock farming will remain almost non-existent.
- Income: sources of household income are expected to remain scarce for the majority of host IDPs and poor households throughout the scenario period. However, between July and September, revenue from water sales could fall due to lower demand during the rainy season. Income from the sale of wood and gathering products will not be able to fill the gap created by the ban on gold panning and the distribution of cash by humanitarian stakeholders.
- Operation of the markets: supplies to the Djibo market will continue to depend on convoys under military escort because of the high risk of security incidents along the main routes (Kongoussi-Djibo; Ouahigouya-Djibo). The irregularity of convoys will continue to lead to frequent shortages of staple foods and atypical price levels compared with the seasonal average until the end of the usual lean period. The marginal harvests from October onwards will not be enough to avoid shortages, and prices will remain high between October and January compared with their seasonal averages during the period.
- Food assistance: several partners have planned emergency food assistance operations to reach the majority of the population in Soum province. This aid may not be fully delivered or may be delayed due to security and logistical constraints. Flight distribution will be preferred, with smaller quantities than forecast. The plans available for the period from June to August should reach 30-40 percent of the population. Between October and January, planning shows coverage similar to previous months, but financing is not yet guaranteed.
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes
Food assistance will be the main source of food for poor host households and IDPs, particularly during the lean season from June to September. On the basis of recent and planned deliveries to 30-40 percent of the population, food assistance will remain vital to prevent extreme variations in food consumption and an alarming rise in levels of acute malnutrition and mortality. However, given the restrictive nature of the blockade, which severely limits access to other sources of food and income, most of the population needs food assistance, and deliveries to 30-40 percent of the population will be insufficient to prevent major food consumption shortfalls. FEWS NET believes that Emergency ! (IPC Phase 4 !) is the most likely outcome from June to September, and Famine (IPC Phase 5) would probably occur in the absence of food assistance. However, given the limited number of aircraft available for deliveries and the associated logistical and financial constraints, there is a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) if aid deliveries are suspended and do not proceed as planned.
Food aid will also remain essential to mitigate atypically high levels of hunger, acute malnutrition, and mortality during the post-harvest period from October 2023 to January 2024. However, the rains are raising the water level in the Djibo dam, and from August onwards, market garden produce will also be marginally available for some of the population. From October onwards, market gardening and the collection of wild produce will be added to the lean stocks from rain-fed cereal production. While these food sources help to alleviate the severity of hunger, the quantity is barely sufficient to reduce the disparities in household food consumption. As a result, Emergecy (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected between October and January, regardless of food aid deliveries - the funding for which is not yet guaranteed - and some households will likely be in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). In addition, a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) will persist during this period, and if attacks by armed groups intensify and prevent households from participating in agricultural activities during the rainy season and disrupt the market and humanitarian deliveries even more than expected, Famine (IPC Phase 5) could still occur during the harvest period.
Citation recommandée : FEWS NET. Burkina Faso. Perspectives sur la sécurité alimentaire juin 2023 à janvier 2024 : En l’absence de l’assistance alimentaire, la Famine (Phase 5 de l’IPC) se produirait probablement à Djibo entre juin et septembre, 2023
To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.