FAO is providing essential agricultural tools, better quality seeds, livestock feed and veterinary care to the most vulnerable populations in Burkina Faso to help them face the new food and nutrition crisis across the Sahel. FAO supports vegetable production as one effective way to cope with food shortages, and livestock as it is crucial to provide early income and safeguard household wealth.
Responding to the crisis
About 90 percent of the population in the Sahel region of the country is dependent on agriculture and livestock rearing, making FAO’s work central to recovery in the country. Due to sporadic rainfall and insufficient harvests, cereal and fodder production have been insufficient, affecting animal health and the nutrition status of people. Lack of water has put livestock at risk, and in a context of soaring prices for basic food commodities, farmers have started to consume seeds intended for the next planting season. FAO is providing better quality cereal, vegetables and fodder seeds, as well as livestock feed and veterinary drugs to boost production.
The large influx of Touareg refugees fleeing conflict in Mali (over 107 000 refugees in August 2012) is also increasing pressure on the already affected population, particularly in the vulnerable provinces of the Sahel region. FAO provides livestock feed, veterinary drugs and vaccines to their animals in order to maintain their safety-nets.
Accessing food through household production and additional income
Vulnerable families are being exposed to high food prices and face tremendous difficulties accessing food and getting their daily meals. FAO provides these families with vegetable seeds, fertilizers and short-cycle livestock, such as village chickens to give them the possibility to significantly increase their own production. In so doing, FAO also gives these families access to a major source of additional income through the sale of vegetables, live chickens and eggs. Additional income has become crucial for these families to cover their household food needs, as well as children’s education fees and health expenses.
By providing agricultural and livestock inputs, FAO is restoring vulnerable farmers production capacities and supporting their livelihoods. FAO wants to strengthen their resilience to allow them to cope with future crises in a more sustainable manner. FAO works closely with the Government and other partners to monitor the food security situation and strengthen the seed sector. To increase production and ensure best practices are being used by farmers and pastoralists, FAO also provides training on production, storage and conservation techniques, livestock protection as well as nutrition education.
Strengthening National Coordination and Early Warning System
FAO supports the National Early Warning system that aims to indentify vulnerable populations through various food security surveys. FAO also plays an important role in food security coordination, especially by improving the capacities of the National Food Security Council, the government authority in charge of food security coordination in Burkina Faso.