FAO Director-General meets President of Burkina Faso
27 June 2014, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today met President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso during the African Union summit in Malabo.
President Compaore thanked FAO for its longstanding support to the country. “Burkina Faso has a stable political environment and solid macro-economic management and has been self-sufficient in food for many years but needs to refocus on small farmers and family farmers to take them out of poverty,” he said.
The country has an agriculture-based economy but is still dominated by subsistence farming.
President Compaore stressed that the Government is investing around 15 percent of its national budget in agriculture in line with the African Union’s 2003 Maputo Declaration, which recommended that countries invest at least 10 percent of their budgets in the sector.
The FAO Director-General congratulated Compaore for his vision and praised the support the government is giving to farmers with the establishment of the national “Farmers’ Day”, chaired by the President himself. On this day, the President takes the opportunity to listen to farmers, understand their problems and discuss solutions with them. He also gives awards to farmers who have contributed the most to eliminating hunger in the country.
President Compaore reported that the country harvested 800 000 tons of cotton this year, making it the primary producer of cotton in Africa.
The two leaders discussed the situation in the Sahel, notably irrigation issues. In this regard, Compaore noted the need to continue supporting countries with greater potential to produce enough food to feed the Sahelian countries that face difficulties due to the crisis.
“We know the past crisis in the Sahel was not about producing enough in the region, but rather how to access food infrastructure and income wisely,” Graziano da Silva said, adding that “regional integration is key.”