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Prolonged consumption deficits threaten the survival of populations in blockaded areas.

  • Key Message Update
  • Burkina Faso
  • July 2023
Prolonged consumption deficits threaten the survival of populations in blockaded areas.

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In blockaded areas, market supply via armed escort is carried out every three to four months, resulting in persistent food shortages. Households with low incomes and marginal productive assets are unable to cope with record price levels, and are primarily dependent on humanitarian food assistance. In Djibo, where assistance reaches around 30 percent of the population, visible signs of malnutrition persist. During the lean season, from June to September, FEWS NET estimates that Emergency! (IPC Phase 4 !) is the most likely outcome in Djibo, a classification which indicates that food assistance is the main factor preventing Famine (IPC Phase 5). While the lean season is the period of greatest need, the severity of hunger will diminish only marginally in the post-harvest period, with Emergency (IPC Phase 4) results expected between October and January. Although not the most likely scenario, FEWS NET estimates that a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) will persist in Djibo until at least January. Between June and September, 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 to limit the loss of life and end the risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in Djibo.

    • The number of municipalities under blockade continues to grow, now reaching over thirty. Most sources of income and food are becoming increasingly precarious. In the provinces of Soum (Arbinda, Kelbo), Oudalan (Markoye, Gorom-Gorom) and Yagha (Solhan, Mansila, Sebba), where assistance reaches less than 20 percent of the population, households are relying on the cultivation of wild foods, following the onset of the rains. However, large consumption gaps persist, indicative of Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes. In these areas, prolonged deficits are increasing cases of visible signs of malnutrition and exposure of people to Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). Additionally, key informants report the crying of starving children and elderly people weakened and falling during distribution operations.

    • Punitive actions by armed terrorist groups continue to cause further population displacements, particularly in Tuy, Mouhoun and Oudalan provinces, and to prevent households from accessing their fields for farming activities, both in areas with a high presence of IDPs (Sahel, North, East, Centre-North) and in the country's production zones (Boucle du Mouhoun, Hauts-Bassins, Cascades, Centre-Est). While the number of security incidents recorded between January and June was similar to last year's record level for the same period, fatalities have more than doubled (ACLED). Coastal countries, notably Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, which are the main destinations for large-scale herders fleeing looting or facing restrictions on access to grazing land, are taking measures to control incoming flows. Earlier this month, almost 500 Burkinabes were repatriated from Ghana.

    • Overall, trade in agricultural and livestock products continues to be marked by a slowdown in internal flows due to insecurity, and by the current ban on exports, particularly of cereals and cowpeas, limiting the number of foreign buyers on local markets. The drop in cereal and cowpea exports and the difficulties in transferring these products from production zones in the west to deficit zones in the north led to an average drop in prices of around 15 percent nationwide in June, compared with the same period last year. However, staple food prices remain 20-50 percent above the five-year average. However, due to irregular supplies by escort, the areas under blockade, in particular the Djibo and Sebba markets, atypical upward variations continue to be observed compared with last year (20 to 75 percent) and also with the five-year average (100 to 212 percent). On the Gorom-Gorom market (in the Oudalan region), the pressure of demand for staple foods due to the strong presence of IDPs, the drop in cereal supply and the fall in demand for livestock, have resulted in a 33 percent deterioration in the terms of trade for livestock/cereals compared with the average.

    • The current agricultural season has been characterized by a poor spatial and temporal distribution of rainfall in all regions of the country. The rainfall recorded in May and June in the southern and western production zones was irregular and insufficient, preventing large-scale planting. Dry spells of more than 7 days, i.e. longer than normal, meant that cotton and cereal crops had to be resown or replaced by shorter-cycle crops. Although rainfall forecasts are favorable for the rest of the season, the continuing increase in the number of IDPs and the reduced access of households to their fields will lead to a drop in the area sown. Similarly, producers' reduced access to inputs, due to prices 50-60 percent higher than average, could lead to under-utilization of these fertilizers and adversely affect yields.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Burkina Faso. Key Messages: Prolonged consumption deficits threaten the survival of populations in blockaded areas. 2023.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.

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