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Insecurity will adversely affect agricultural activities in the north of the country

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burkina Faso
  • June 2019
Insecurity will adversely affect agricultural activities in the north of the country

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook Through January 2020
  • Key Messages
    • Escalating acts of violence by armed groups resulted in a 26 percent increase in the number of internally displaced persons at the start of May, in just one month.  These populations, as well as host households, are dependent on assistance. In areas that are less affected by incidents that have become a daily occurrence, households still have reserves from their own production to maintain their stressed food security situation. 

    • In the northern part of the country (Livelihood Zones 5, 7 and 8), where 95 percent of internally displaced persons are located, populations no longer have access to gold mining sites, which is where they usually derive their second source of income. The supply of staple food to local markets is becoming difficult. Similarly, humanitarian access has become limited, particularly in the province of Soum. This will make internally displaced persons and host households in this province vulnerable to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between June and September.

    • In addition to households’ deteriorating food access, limited access to health services and disruptions to regular malnutrition prevention and management programs throughout the lean season could lead to higher acute malnutrition rates than in the previous year, which will be more severe among internally displaced populations and host households.

    • Although seasonal forecasts indicate favorable conditions for average or above-average rainfall in most parts of the country, the likelihood of poor rains in high-production areas in the west, increasing flows of internally displaced persons and limited population movements could negatively impact agricultural activities, leading to a decline in production below the average of the last five years.

    • A deteriorating security situation, with armed groups committing targeted acts of violence not only against defense and security forces, but also increasingly against civilians and their property. As at 11 May 2019, Burkina Faso had almost 170,500 internally displaced persons (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)/National Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation Council (CONASUR), May 2019) – an increase of 26 percent within one month.
    • A reduction in internal and external cereal flows, partly due to insecurity, which prevents transfers to areas in the north of the country with structural deficits, and partly due to the decline in demand from neighboring countries where past production has been above average. 
    • With an average of 33 security incidents per month over the last three months, there may be an increase in the intensity and spread of violent acts by armed groups, as the deterioration of roads and onset of the rainy season could hinder the national defense and security forces’ response operations.
    • Although seasonal forecasts indicate overall normal rainfall in the country, the risk of increased numbers of armyworm is a concern, especially in the first half of the season. Similarly, crop losses resulting from grain-eating birds could be significant, as the occupation by armed groups will prevent control measures in areas where these birds are prevalent.
    Livelihood zones 7, 8 and 5
    • Most of the violent acts committed by armed groups occur in these livelihood zones (Sahel region and surrounding provinces), where more than 95 percent of internally displaced persons are residing. Humanitarian access to these zones is becoming difficult.
    • Supplies to markets in border communes are declining, as regular suppliers have difficulty accessing them. Moreover, households are visiting these markets less due to security threats, which are limiting their movement.
    • Populations are engaging less in gold mining activities, which usually make up around 40 percent of poor households’ income. In addition, the 11–31 percent increase in the population of some communes is putting pressure on available resources, particularly drinking water and water for animals.
    • The number of internally displaced persons may increase following continued violent acts and threats by armed groups. In non-grazing areas, the majority of internally displaced persons in pastoral households share available resources with host households’ livestock. As agricultural activities begin, there may be a risk of conflicts arising between farmers and livestock farmers or communities.
    • Disruptions in the supply of basic cereals to markets in remote areas may occur at a time when households will be more dependent on markets for their food. As a result, currently stable prices could rise above the five-year average. In more accessible areas, humanitarian assistance will help stabilize prices throughout the lean season.
    • Although the early onset of rains will lead to new pasture growth and help reduce the duration of the lean season, household access to food may deteriorate, particularly in some areas in Soum and Sanmatenga provinces, which are more affected by insecurity.


    Projected Outlook Through January 2020

    At the national level

    Thanks to the previous season’s high production levels, cereal supplies at markets in high-production areas are satisfactory compared with last year and the average. Despite an ongoing institutional demand of 40,000 tons, the decrease in flows to neighboring countries, difficulties in supplying northern markets and usual household demand are leading to a slump in sales to traders. In addition, the government has opened 150 subsidized cereal outlets throughout the country.

    As a result, cereal prices have fallen by 29 percent compared with the previous year and by 5 percent compared with the five-year average.

    At the start of the lean season, households have normal access to food and consume at least two meals per day. Production from market gardening activities that are coming to an end has been good and has provided producers with near-average incomes. Large-scale producers are storing and preserving onions in anticipation of better prices in the coming months. Overall, poor households are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1). Typical market demand and the normal availability of wild products should enable households to maintain this situation until the next harvest in October.

    The results of the seasonal forecast (Regional Climate Outlook Forum for Sudano-Sahelian Africa, known by its French acronym PRESASS) indicate favorable conditions for average or above-average rainfall throughout most of the country, except in the regions of Hauts-Bassins, Sud-Ouest, Cascades and Boucle du Mouhoun, where total rainfall is expected to be lower as normal. Rains are also expected to start early and end late as normal. However, increasing flows of internally displaced persons and the deteriorating security situation will hinder local agricultural activities in the Sahel, Nord, Centre-Nord and Est regions. In addition, the likelihood of poor rainfall in western production areas may negatively impact their level of production. Furthermore, insufficient support for producers in remote areas could limit pest prevention and control activities, thus increasing crop losses.

    In short, agricultural production is expected to remain below the five-year average. Nevertheless, access to new harvests and income generated from the sale of cash crops (groundnuts, cowpeas, cotton, sesame) and early market garden production will result in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) until January 2020.

    Livelihood Zones 8, 7 and 5

    Livelihood Zones 8, 7 and 5 include the Sahel region and neighboring provinces (Loroum, Bam, Sanmatenga, Namentenga, Gnagna and Komondjari). More than 95 percent of displaced populations are found in this area. Security incidents occur daily and are characterized by killings, destruction of property (trading posts, cattle raiding) and abductions of civilians, including humanitarian workers. Safer urban centers are places of refuge for populations. For example, in the communes of Djibo, Arbinda, Kelbo (Soum Province), Barsalogho, Dablo and Pensa (Sanmatenga Province), internally displaced persons account for between 11 and 31 percent of the total population, with the majority living in host communities.

    As a result of the deteriorating security situation, gold mining sites have become inaccessible, depriving poor households of one of their main sources of income. Gold mining is these households’ second main source of income after livestock, contributing around 40 percent to their income. Markets are functioning at a slow pace or not at all, especially in Soum Province, with the exception of the Djibo and Kelbo markets. Their supply from assembly markets (Ouagadougou, Pouytenga and Ouahigouya) and the country’s western production areas are no longer enough. Until early May, traders tried to resupply the area using the Ouagadougou-Dori-Arbinda route, but this is no longer possible.

    Internally displaced persons end up settling with their livestock in non-grazing areas, which puts pressure on available local resources. The community conflicts that have occurred in the past few months are still underlying. As a result, in some areas, access to resources (pasture and water points) is restricted for livestock belonging to internally displaced persons, while in other areas, this livestock is raided. Livestock markets along the border with Mali are no longer frequented by livestock purchasers. Livestock farmers are therefore forced to visit central markets to sell their animals.

    Households in more stable areas still have their stocks from last season’s higher production. The provision of food assistance to internally displaced persons and host households is reducing their dependence on markets. As a result, despite the market disruptions, prices of basic cereals are stable or slightly lower than the five-year average, with the exception of the Gorom-Gorom and Markoye markets, which have seen increases of around 10 percent. In central livestock markets (Yuba, Djibo, Gorom-Gorom, Dori and Kaya), prices for small ruminants are generally stable compared with the five-year average. However, sales are below 80 percent due to the decrease in the number of buyers. In these central markets, the cereal-to-livestock terms of trade are favorable to farmers and show increases of 20–47 percent compared with the average.

    Households in more stable areas that are able to produce their own supplies are experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In contrast, in the provinces of Soum and Sanmatenga, which have the most internally displaced persons, assistance has covered 32 percent of this population as priority targets, as well as 80–100 percent of their calorific needs in the past two months. However, this represents only 16 percent and 5 percent of the population of these provinces respectively, making these provinces vulnerable to Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    Following the depletion of stocks, household dependency in more stable areas will be high until the end of the lean season in September. As humanitarian access becomes more difficult, assistance planning, which is expected to reach between 53 and 72 percent of internally displaced persons during the period, may not be regular. Internally displaced households and host households will then become dependent on low-income markets, with disruptions in the supply of these markets pushing them to adopt coping strategies to manage their food and livelihoods. In addition, regular malnutrition prevention and management programs will be limited in these areas. As a result, during the lean season, global acute malnutrition (GAM) could be more prevalent in general than in the previous year and more severe among internally displaced households and host households.

    The ongoing deterioration of the security situation will limit households’ access to their fields, particularly in and around Soum Province. Similarly, in the face of threats from armed groups, households in the province could limit the cultivation of tall crops (millet, sorghum) in favor of pulses. As a result, the markets’ dependence on access to basic cereals will continue during the harvesting period. Food assistance planned between June and September will cover only about 20 percent of the population in Soum and less than 10 percent of the population in neighboring provinces. Given the deteriorating security situation, it is not certain that this assistance will be properly provided, meaning that poor households in safer areas will continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Increasing numbers of internally displaced persons in Soum and its surrounding areas will keep the province in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until January 2019.

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

    Figure 2


    Source: FEWS NET

    Projected price per kg of millet on the Djibo market: Prices expected to be near or below the 5-year average and lower than l

    Figure 2

    Figure 1.


    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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