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Despite the ongoing harvests, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) persists in Soum, Séno, and Sanmatenga provinces.

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Burkina Faso
  • October 2020
Despite the ongoing harvests, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) persists in Soum, Séno, and Sanmatenga provinces.

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Despite adequate rainfall distribution from July to October, agricultural production may fall below average in the northern areas that are most affected by insecurity, due to field-access issues and drought pockets. Harvests will remain close to average throughout Burkina Faso despite delayed access to inputs, and local flooding in the calmest production areas.

    • Dans les centres urbains, le ralentissement global des activités économiques en raison de la persistance de la pandémie de COVID-19 continuera d’affecter négativement la demande d’emplois et les revenus, en particulier dans le secteur informel, le tourisme et l’hôtellerie. La baisse du pouvoir d’achat des pauvres limitera leur accès à l’alimentation.

    • In urban centers, the global economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will continue its negative impact on job prospects and income, specifically in the informal, tourism and lodging sectors. Poor people's decreased purchasing power will limit their access to food.

    • Without food assistance, current harvests will not be sufficient to avoid acute food insecurity in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between October and May in Soum, Sanmatenga, and Séno provinces, where internally displaced persons make up at least 20 percent of the population.  The Crisis (IPC Phase 3) will extend to neighboring provinces (Loroum, Oudalan, Bam, and Namentenga) beginning in February 2021, because food stocks will be exhausted and livelihoods will continue to decline.





    • Active COVID-19 cases were relatively stable between May and July, but have increased since August, primarily due to community spread. There have been 2,466 total confirmed cases since March, with 218 active cases on October 25. The pandemic continues to negatively affect the entire economy, and the hotel, restaurant, and tourism sectors in particular. Burkina Faso's land borders remain closed, which decreases migration.
    • Security incidents and deaths have decreased since July as compared to the other months of the year, but the situation is still concerning, notably due to isolated attacks by terrorist groups. This prevents any significant return of the estimated 1,034,609 internally displaced persons (CONASUR statistic, September 2020).
    • COVID-19 could continue to spread in the coming months, due to decreased public compliance with preventive measures, community gatherings related to the November elections, and the year-end holidays. If this occurs, it is expected that overall economic activity will slow down, and cash crop exports and remittances will decrease.
    • Terrorist groups remain active in many regions in Burkina Faso. As a result, the food security situation remains concerning, and will continue to negatively affect agropastoral activities, markets, and appropriate humanitarian assistance.

    Livelihood zones 8; 7; 5 and 9

    • Despite relatively stable conditions over the past three months (figure 2), household access to fields has been difficult or impossible in many locations in the Sahel, north, central-northern, east, and Boucle du Mouhoun regions. Access to new harvests is poor in those areas, and households remain dependent on food aid and markets. 
    • Due to this ongoing insecurity, health centers are closed or operating at reduced capacity; this is also true of markets in the far north border areas. In September, prices for basic staple foods increased slightly to moderately in September in the Djibo, Baraboulé, Nassoumbou and Markoye markets, as compared to the five-year average.
    • Despite good rainfall in those livelihood zones, less cultivated land means below-average production. The lean season will begin early —in February rather than April— for host households. Internally displaced persons who have not been able to grow crops will remain dependent on markets and food aid. 
    • Security incidents have increased since October, and will continue to negatively affect access to usual income sources such as gold panning, fishing, and selling livestock. Income from seasonal migration remittances might also decrease because land borders are closed. Thus, fewer people leave, and the economy slows in countries where migrants typically go. Basic staple food prices will remain higher than average.


    National level

    Low to moderate rainfall has been recorded since the beginning of October, which confirms that the season ended on time or late. Since the second dekad of July, rainfall distribution has been satisfactory overall, and total rainfall between April 1 and October 10 have been similar to or above normal in almost the entire country. Despite this favorable rainfall, grain plantings will be lower than average. Insecurity has limited access to fields in the northern and eastern halves of Burkina Faso. Additionally, drought pockets seen at the beginning of the season in western Burkina Faso have resulted in smaller grain plantings versus cash crops. The agricultural statistics service estimates that grain plantings will decrease by 3 percent as compared to the previous year.

    Not only have plantings decreased, but input usage efficiency has also decreased despite an increase in government support. The new mobile input distribution system was tested for the first time, and it caused delays. This prevented beneficiaries from following the schedule for using those inputs. Additionally, in the southern border regions, border closures intended to stop the spread of COVID-19 have prevented growers from importing enough inexpensive inputs from neighboring countries. In addition, decreased remittances and decreased income in the 2020 lean season also contributed to this decreased use of agricultural inputs. This might have a negative effect on agricultural production. Floods and dry spells during the critical crop-growing period (September 20 to October 10) also caused localized decreases in crop yields, specifically in the eastern, northern, Boucle du Mouhoun and central-western regions.

    Despite adequate rainfall from July to October, agricultural production will fall below average in the northern areas that are most affected by insecurity, but will remain close to average throughout Burkina Faso. Harvests are ongoing for various crops, but at higher rates (between 25 and 50 percent) for groundnuts, cowpea, maize, early millet, and yams. These contribute to an improved household food situation and better supplies for markets.  

    Market retail prices for basic grains were stable overall in September, compared to the five-year average.  Still, those prices rose as compared to the same period during the previous year: 23 percent for maize, 31 percent for millet, and 20 percent for sorghum. Greater increases (between 50 and 80 percent) were seen in the eastern region's markets, primarily due to greater exports to Niger, and to NGOs purchasing food locally for internally displaced persons. After a few months of disruptions in rice imports, monthly totals recorded since July are similar to average, which promotes more stable market prices for rice. These higher prices specifically affect internally displaced persons and poor household in urban centers; they depend on markets for food year-round.

    With average production, household demand on markets should remain typical, at least until May, in the country's calmest zones. Availability of fodder and water is also good; this should generally allow typical feeding of livestock. Water source levels are good. This should allow good growing conditions during the dry season. However, last season's production losses and slumping sales prevented growers from paying off their debts. This translates into difficulty purchasing inputs and equipment to restart their usual activity.

    In urban centers, the global economic slowdown will continue its negative impact on job prospects and income, specifically in the informal economy and the tourism and lodging sectors. Poor people in the informal sector have decreased purchasing power; this limits their access to food. This population generally spends 50 to 60 percent of income on food (SAP, HEA, 2020).

    The majority of poor households in the calmest zones will remain in a state of Minimal acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) until May, by using their own stored food. However, less than 20 percent of the population in major urban centers, specifically poor people in the informal sector, will continue to be classified into a Stressed (IPC Phase 2) situation.

    Livelihood zones 8; 7; 5 and 9 (Sahel, central-north, north, and east regions)

    Rain distribution, in terms of time and location, is good in this zone, with totals that are higher than average, except in the commune of Markoye and in many communes in the north region, where rainfalls stopped early, in the second dekad in September.

    With the relatively calm conditions in July, some internally displaced persons tried to return to their home villages to plant crops. However, fields are being planted only on the outskirts of villages. Farming and livestock-raising have been disrupted by more than 50% in the communes of Kain, Tangaye, Thiou, Banh, and Sollé (in the north region), Djibo, Baraboulé, Nassoumbou, Koutougou, Arbinda, Déou, Tin-Akoff (in the Sahel region), Pensa, Dablo, Namissiguima (in the central-north region), and by more than 20 percent in the communes of Matiacoali, Botou, Bartiébougou, Foutouri, Tambarga, Madjoari and Logobou (in the east region).

    Harvests will remain below last year's, and below the five-year average. However, availability of forage and water is higher than average. Some pasture areas remain difficult to access, due to the threat of livestock being looted by terrorist groups. In zones with many internally displaced persons, additional livestock put pressure on resources which may run out in February, as compared to April in a typical year.

    Food aid and markets remain the primary source of food for host households and internally displaced persons, because harvests have been insufficient in zones with many internally displaced persons. Internally displaced persons represent 22 percent of the population in Séno province, 33 percent in Sanmatenga province, and 40 percent in Soum province, and between 13 and 16 percent in the surrounding provinces of Loroum, Oudalan, Ban, and Namentenga.

    An evaluation of more than two thirds of internally displaced persons (SP/CONASUR, September 2020) showed that 42 percent received food aid in August. However, market purchases remain the primary source of food for 61 percent of internally displaced persons. The primary strategies that households have developed include reducing daily consumption, borrowing or begging, and eating less expensive foods. Farming used to employ 91 percent of internally displaced persons, but only 20 percent are still farming, and 60 percent are not working at all. Overall, aid provided between July and September was concentrated in Soum, Sanmatenga, and Séno provinces, where it affected 40 percent, 33 percent, and 22 percent of the population respectively, covering at least 50 percent of their food needs. These conditions point toward Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity, in those provinces.

    The calmer conditions also allowed international stakeholders to resupply and be present in the primary markets. However, secondary markets, especially those in the northern border regions, are working at reduced capacity, due to isolated attacks and threats from terrorist groups. Availability of basic staple foods remains lower than average, and prices, particularly for millet, have risen by between 11 and 25 percent in the Djibo, Baraboulé, and Nassoumbou markets (in Soum province), and in the Markoye market (in Oudalan province) as compared to the five-year average. This price increase may continue until May 2021, due to households' dependence on markets (figure 3), and may negatively affect household purchasing power.

    Livestock markets reflect stable prices for animals, and even a slight decrease in Dori, but prices at the Djibo market have fallen even more as compared to normal: 25 percent for sheep, 17 percent for goats, and 37 percent for cows. This is due to the erosion of household assets after the five-year security crisis. Additionally, some livestock farmers have fled due to the threat of looting by armed groups. With the presence of international buyers (who mostly come from Ghana), at least 80 percent of the animals brought to market are sold. Prices are stable for small ruminants in Dori, but have risen by 20 and 27 percent, respectively, for rams and goats at the Djibo market, compared to the average.  Goat/millet trade terms are stable in Dori, and have risen by 27 percent in Djibo as compared to normal.  However, they have fallen by 30 percent at the Gorom-Gorom market due to sell-offs by internally displaced persons.

    Without food assistance, current harvests will not be sufficient to avoid acute food insecurity in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between October and May in Soum, Sanmatenga, and Séno provinces, where internally displaced persons make up at least 20 percent of the population. Beginning in February, supply shortages and continued worsening of livelihoods will expose the neighboring provinces (Loroum, Oudalan, Bam et Namentenga) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3).


    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Figure 2

    Source: FEWS NET, using data from ACLED

    Figure 3

    Source: Source: FEWS NET/Projection basée sur les données de SIM/SONAGESS

    Calendrier saisonnier pour une année typique

    Figure 4

    Calendrier saisonnier pour une année typique

    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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