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Atypical livestock destocking at markets in areas with large internally displaced populations

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burkina Faso
  • February 2020
Atypical livestock destocking at markets in areas with large internally displaced populations

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook Through September 2020
  • Key Messages
    • Livestock destocking is a strategy adopted by internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host households to escape looting by terrorist groups, or to address livestock feeding difficulties, or food and non-food needs. The pastoral lean season, which is expected to be more difficult than usual, will also have a negative impact on the terms of trade in accessible markets. 

    • In the northern part of the country, markets along the borders with Mali and Niger are poorly supplied and no longer regularly held due to terrorist threats. Although cereal prices are slightly below average, early depletion of household stocks in February will lead to a higher-than-usual increase in market demand and prices may reach or exceed the seasonal average between February and September.

    • Security incidents will continue, leading to an increase in the number of IDPs and restricting the income of poor households, especially in the Centre-Nord, Sahel and Est regions. Ongoing and planned humanitarian assistance, especially in the provinces of Bam, Namentenga, Sanmatenga, Sum, Séno and Loroum, will place poor IDPs and host households in Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) between February and September. However, in the provinces of Oudalan, Yagha, Komandjoari and Gnagna, there is insufficient assistance to prevent food consumption and livelihoods from deteriorating, and poor IDPs and households in these areas will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between February and September.

    • The persistence and proliferation of incidents and fatalities in all regions, with an average of 52 incidents and 184 killings per month since January 2019.
    • Continuous internal displacement of populations, reaching 765,517 by 12 February (Burkinabe Council for Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation: CONASUR), an increase of approximately 37 percent compared with the update of 9 December 2019. 
    • The security situation will remain a matter of concern and the acts of violence and threats perpetrated by terrorist groups could, for the second consecutive season, limit agricultural activities and further deteriorate household livelihoods.
    • An increase in assistance needs due to a likely increase in the number of IDPs and stock depletion in poor host households. 
    Livelihood zones 8, 7, 5 and 9
    •  IDPs account for at least 20 percent of the population in the provinces of Sanmatenga, Séno and Soum, putting pressure on water resources and pastureland and increasing demand for food and non-food items in local markets.
    • There is an atypical increase in the supply of animals in accessible markets (Djibo, Dori, Kaya) to meet needs and/or escape looting or alleviate livestock feeding difficulties.
    • Nearly 20 percent of health centers are closed or are functioning at a slower pace (Health Cluster). This limits access to health care. The rate of acute malnutrition among children under five years was over 10 percent in October. 
    • With the slowdown of markets along the border with Mali and Niger and stock depletion in host households, demand in accessible markets will increase and staple food prices may reach or exceed the seasonal average between February and September.
    • The pastoral lean season will be more difficult between February and June due to localized fodder shortages and pressure on resources in host areas. The fall in livestock prices will have a negative impact on the terms of trade.
    • The nutritional situation will continue to be a source of concern due to households’ deteriorating access to food and limited access to health care.


    Projected Outlook Through September 2020


    At the national level

    The security situation remains a matter of concern with the expansion of areas under threat from terrorist groups. All parts of the country have reported security incidents over the past 13 months. The monthly trend is an average of 52 incidents and 183 people killed (Figure 1). The number of IDPs reached 765,517 (CONASUR, 12 February 2020), an increase of approximately 37 percent compared with the update of 9 December 2019. The largest increases were recorded in the provinces of Séno (183 percent), Sanmatenga (41 percent), Namentenga (59 percent) and Bam (37 percent).

    In the southern and western half of the country, which is less affected by insecurity, poor households still have at least two meals a day, as normal, thanks to average or higher-than-average crop yields.

    Demand from these households remains typical in the markets. Traders in this part of the country, who normally serve the provinces with structural deficits in the northern half of the country, report below-average demand. In addition, they have managed to retain last year’s stocks. Therefore, there is no market stress and cereal prices are between 10 and 15 percent below the five-year average. Cross-border cereal flows are also lower than normal. Indeed, the overall decline in domestic demand is slowing down the flows that usually come from coastal countries. Similarly, cereal exports to Niger are smaller.

    In addition to the sale of cereals, the sale of cash crops (groundnuts, cowpeas, shea nuts, sesame) also provides average income to producers, as their prices are stable compared with the average. Market gardening and gold mining activities are taking place as normal, with the influx of IDPs from the north of the country increasingly competing for labor at the sites where these activities take place. However, the cost of this seasonal labor has not changed over the past year. The decrease in the number of foreign buyers (Ghanaians and Togolese) due to insecurity caused prices for market garden crops to fall by between 30 and 40 percent in February compared with the same period the previous year.

    With average or above-average household stocks, the lean season will continue as normal between June and September. Food availability will also remain average in the markets. Staple cereal prices will rise seasonally. Agricultural labor will be more available due to the influx of IDPs. The maintenance of livelihoods and typical food access will therefore lead to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity until September in areas of the country less affected by insecurity. However, despite their gradual integration into socioeconomic activities, IDPs in these areas will remain dependent on the markets, humanitarian assistance and assistance from host households and will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) throughout the period.

    Livelihood zones 8, 7, 5 and 9

    The security situation remains a concern in these livelihood zones in the northern half of the country. Security incidents are occurring on an almost daily basis and there is an increase in the number of IDPs arriving in urban centers. In the Soum, Séno and Sanmatenga provinces, the number of IDPs exceeds 20 percent of the population. In the communes of Barsalogho, Dablo, Pensa, Namissiguima and Kaya in the Centre-Nord region, and Gorgadji, Djibo and Kelbo in the Sahel region, IDPs account for more than 50 percent of the population.

    Ongoing food assistance for the months of February and March, mainly from the World Food Programme and the Government, is expected to reach at least 20 percent of households in all Centre-Nord provinces, in the Soum and Séno provinces in the Sahel region and in Loroum province in the Nord region. This assistance helps reduce market demand among IDPs, who are the main beneficiaries. However, host households are beginning to depend on the market because their stocks are low or even exhausted. Assistance facilitates Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) acute food insecurity in these provinces. On the other hand, the province of Oudalan remains vulnerable to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) as assistance reaches only 11 percent of the population.

    Markets along the borders with Mali and Niger are poorly supplied and no longer regularly held due to terrorist threats. In provincial capital markets, although overall cereal prices were 10 to 15 percent below last year and the five-year average, slight increases were observed compared with December. Atypical increases of about 25 percent are recorded in the Markoye and Sebba markets compared with the previous month. Slightly above-average prices for millet are observed in the markets of Arbinda, Djibo and Titao, due to increased demand from host populations. From February onwards, host households’ dependency on markets will be higher than normal, due to the depletion of their stocks. Even with food assistance, staple cereal prices may reach or exceed the seasonal average until September (Figure 2).

    Provincial capital markets have also become livestock holding centers, as local markets are not very accessible to purchasers. Terrorist groups sometimes target livestock and fear of looting causes households in areas under threat to choose to destock. Due to a lack of pastureland or to meet non-food needs, IDPs also sell off their livestock in host area markets. As a result, the supply of small ruminants at markets in areas with a high IDP presence has increased: in the Dori and Djibo markets, for example, supply in January increased by 11 percent and 14 percent, respectively, compared with last year. Supply levels are similar to the overall average in Djibo, but up by 24 percent in Dori. In the Djibo market in particular, despite households selling off livestock, the supply is stable on account of reduced inflows of goats from Mali. Compared with the five-year average, the price of rams is down by 26 percent in Dori and 8 percent in Djibo, while the price of bucks has fallen by 16 percent in Dori and 3 percent in Djibo. While the terms of trade remain above average for livestock farmers, they remain stable in Djibo but are down 14 percent in Dori compared with the average. 

    The pastoral lean season is beginning earlier, particularly in the Sahel and Centre-Nord regions, due to inaccessible grazing areas, localized deficits due to pockets of drought (such as in Oudalan province in the Sahel region) and the great strain on water resources and pastureland in host areas. Despite the average supply of livestock to the Dori and Djibo markets, in February prices rose by about 23 percent from their usual levels. With a more difficult pastoral lean season expected, livestock farmers believe that prices could rise by between 30 and 40 percent between April and June compared with their seasonal average over the same period, which will continue to worsen livestock farmers’ purchasing power.

    Aside from the sale of livestock, there are reduced opportunities for market gardening and gold mining activities, which are usually the main source of income between February and June. Some of the sites where these activities take place are inaccessible due to insecurity. The amount of water available at water points in the Nord region is insufficient to allow market gardening to continue until May as usual. Consequently, income from these two sources will fall between February and June compared with the average. In urban centers hosting the majority of IDPs, labor supply exceeds demand in the main sectors of construction and domestic work.

    With declining incomes, IDPs are more dependent on food assistance. Between February and September, host households will also be more dependent on markets and assistance due to stock depletion. Ongoing threats and attacks by terrorist groups could exacerbate livestock destocking. The decline in their market value combined with their physical deterioration will cause livestock prices to remain below average throughout the period. Food access will therefore be reduced in the coming months, and poor households and IDPs will be forced to reduce their number of meals, as well as the quantity and quality of food consumed, and to sell off their livestock more than usual. Similarly, the use of emergency food could be greater than normal.

    This deterioration in food consumption and livelihoods and populations’ limited access to health care could contribute to an increase in the malnutrition rate, which is already above the high public health concern threshold.

    In the northern half of the country, population displacement and ongoing security incidents will limit agricultural and pastoral activities for the second consecutive season and will contribute to the further deterioration of households’ livelihoods.

    The Government’s emergency food stocks have been replenished beyond their usual levels, thus facilitating the continued distribution operations in the various provinces. Therefore, with planned assistance, the provinces with a high number of IDPs from Loroum, which is in the northern region, the provinces of the Centre-Nord regions and the province of Séno in the Sahel region will remain Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) until September. In the provinces of Gnagna and Komandjoari in the Est region, and Oudalan and Yagha in the Sahel region, planned assistance will not be sufficient to change the outlook, and displaced persons and poor households in these provinces will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Poor households in the Yatenga (Nord) and Gurma (Est) provinces will be able to hold on to stock that they produce until April, but lower incomes from market gardening and gold mining will force them to adopt Stressed (IPC Phase 2) strategies between May and September.

    Figures Graph of the evolution of security incidents and fatalities from January 2019 to January 2020: an increase in fatality totals

    Figure 1

    Figure 1.

    Source: FEWS NET/Armed Conflict Location and Event (ACLED)

    Graph of millet prices (XOF/kg) projected on the Djibo market for 2020: Projections between January and September 2020 are ab

    Figure 2

    Figure 2.

    Source: FEWS NET/National Society for Food Security Stock Management (SONAGESS)

    Burkina Faso Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year  Mid-May to mid-October is the rainy season. September to January is the ma

    Figure 3


    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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