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Poor households in the northern half of the country experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burkina Faso
  • April 2018
Poor households in the northern half of the country experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Localized production deficits, below-average market supplies, and higher institutional demand are the main factors driving an upward trend in prices, 15 to 30 percent above the five-year average, observed since the October harvests.

    • Income from livestock sales and gold mining is close to average, due to stable prices for small ruminants and gold. However, income from market gardening has been below average during the period of full production. Onions, which are the main crop at this end of the season, are selling at a price 25 percent lower than the five-year average.  

    • Poor households in livelihood zones 5, 7 and 8 whose food stocks are depleting are starting to depend on markets in a context of above-average prices. Current and planned food assistance (distribution of food and cash) remains inadequate. As a result, a deterioration in the terms of trade will expose these households to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity from May to September. 





    • Above-average institutional demand for cereals, reducing market supplies.
    • Prices for staple cereals above the five-year average: 17 percent for maize, 28 percent for millet and 24 percent for sorghum.
    • Prices for other cash crops, compared to the five-year average, are 18 percent above average for cowpeas and 6 percent below average for groundnuts.
    • Atypical rise in demand from households, due to premature depletion of food stocks from harvests.
    • Continuation of above-average cereal prices.
    • Increase in farm labor as an income-generating strategy for poor households.
    • Increase in the sale of small ruminants, due to high cereal prices and stable or falling prices for livestock.

    Livelihood zones 5, 7 and 8

    • Price of sorghum 20 to 50 percent above the five-year average on the markets of Bogandé, Djibo, Dori, Sebba, Gayéri, Kongoussi, Yalgo, Yako and Titao.
    • Price of millet 20 to 30 percent above the five-year average on the markets of Dori, Sebba, and Yalgo.
    • Prices for market garden crops, compared to the five-year average, 25 percent below average for onions but around 40 percent above average for tomatoes.
    • Terms of trade for livestock/cereals around 16 percent below the five-year average.
    • Deterioration in the security situation, especially in and around Soum province, resulting in approximately 12,500 internally displaced persons (IDPs). The recent internal conflict in Mali triggered a displacement of around 3,000 Malians, who have taken refuge in the Nord region. There were already 23,000 Malian refugees in the Sahel region, covered by UNHCR and its partners.
    • Current assistance (food distribution to refugees and food and cash distribution to IDPs and host population) covers 6 percent of the total population, and 13 percent of the poor population, in Soum, Oudalan and Séno provinces.
    • Increased household dependence on markets, due to localized production deficits, especially in zone 5 and the east of zone 7.
    • Higher than usual sales of livestock, due to the longer duration of food purchasing and the higher prices for staple foods.
    • Continued deterioration in the terms of trade, due to higher prices for staple foods.
    • Continued threat of terrorism liable to increase the number of IDPs. Although the terrorist groups have suffered heavy losses over recent months, the start of the rainy season and the growth of vegetation may reduce the mobility and intervention capacities of the security forces.
    • Planned humanitarian assistance for June to September (cash or vouchers for the European Union Trust Fund, food distribution to IDPs and refugees by state welfare services and UNHCR) may reach 9 percent of the total population, and 33 percent of the poor population, in zones 5, 7 and 8.


    With food stocks currently being depleted, poor households are starting to depend on markets for their food. There continues to be below-average availability of staple cereals on markets, due to localized production deficits and traders’ difficulty in mobilizing stock in the face of high prices in source areas.

    In livelihood zone 8, covering Oudalan province and surrounding area, the harvests were equal to or better than the five-year average. This enabled poor households to have a normal diet up until April.  In zone 5 (Bam, Namentenga, Sanmentenga, Yatenga, Loroum, Kourwéogo, Passoré, Zondoma, Oubritenga and Boulkiemdé provinces) and the east of zone 7 (Gnagna, Komondjoari, Soum, Oudalan and Yagha provinces), where production deficits have been more pronounced, poor households have low food stocks and will also have to depend on food markets from April (compared to June normally).

    There is average income from livestock sales and gold mining for households in zones 7 and 8.  Despite the deterioration in the security situation, livestock markets are functioning reasonably well and prices for small ruminants (male goats and male sheep) are stable against the five-year average. However, due to the higher price of staple cereals (millet), the terms of trade for male goats/millet have deteriorated by on average 16 percent compared to the five-year average. The price of a gram of gold (25,000 CFAF on average) is close to the average observed over the past five years. In zone 5, in addition to stable income from livestock and gold mining, market gardening is making a significant contribution to household income.  At the end of this growing season, prices have risen for tomatoes (around 40 percent above average) but the price of onions remains 25 percent below average. Cash transfer programs are in place for 3,200 households (around 22,400 people) in Soum province. In addition, social welfare services have already prepared supplies to provide three months’ food assistance (March to May) to all identified IDPs (13,650) and victims of disasters over the past season (12,236 people).

    Although there is little difference in prices for staple foods in March compared to the previous month, millet prices are 21 percent higher in zone 7 and 16 percent higher in zone 8, and sorghum prices are 21 percent higher in zone 5 and 32 percent higher in zone 7.  FEWS NET estimates that at the height of the lean season (June to September), prices for staple cereals will be above seasonal averages, by on average 19 percent for millet and 25 percent for sorghum. This is due to localized production deficits, the impact of current calls for tenders for the reconstitution of government food stocks, and increased demand from households.

    With stable overall income and above-average prices for staple foods, the terms of trade for livestock/cereals will continue to deteriorate, making it difficult for households to access food. To meet their needs, they will have to increase livestock sales and farm labor.

    As a result, from May onwards, poor households in zones 5, 7 and 8 will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of food insecurity. Planned food assistance for the period (food and cash distribution) remains inadequate, covering only 9 percent of the total population and 33 percent of the poor population. However, it will help households not to deplete their livelihood assets during the lean season, and to remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) phase until September.

    Although the number of IDPs is expected to increase, due to continued terrorist attacks, the proportion of displaced persons (currently 3 percent of the population in Soum) will remain low in the most affected region, the Sahel.

    Figures Main harvest is from September until January. Off-season harvest is from January until March. Harvest of market gardening pro

    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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