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The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2013: Burkina Faso

The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2013: Burkina Faso
Dec 2012

Almost half of the people in Burkina Faso live in extreme poverty and have little access to social services. Nearly one-third of the country is acutely malnourished and child malnutrition rates are among the highest in the world. The combination of climatic shocks, soaring food prices and regional political insecurity continues to strain the ability of vulnerable households to cope. An influx of refugees fleeing conflict in Mali and the lasting effects of the Sahel food and nutrition crisis led the Government to declare a national emergency in early 2012.

Challenges facing food security and livelihoods

Around 73 percent of the population of Burkina Faso relies on agriculture for their food and income. Agriculture is central to reducing malnutrition and food insecurity, which currently affect more than 2.8 million people. However, the sector faces numerous threats, such as repeated drought and flooding.

In 2012, cereal production fell by 20 percent compared to the previous year due to drought, resulting in a 154 462-tonne cereal deficit. With insufficient food production, many farming families have resorted to consuming their seed stocks of cereals and beans, leaving them with fewer seeds to plant during the next season. In addition, localized flooding has affected nearly 150 000 people, destroying crops and killing livestock. Although forecasts for the 2012 harvest are favourable, households have exhausted their savings and food reserves, and will need assistance to recover.

More than half of rural households are poor, do not own land and have few animals, which are a crucial source of nutrition and income. The lack of pasture and water – as a result of drought – has weakened livestock and made them more susceptible to disease, leading to lower milk and meat production. In times of crisis, many families are forced to sell their animals, such as goats and sheep, in order to buy food.

Burkina Faso hosts close to 35 750 refugees from northern Mali, who brought with them an estimated 50 000 animals. Many settled in areas severely affected by drought. This has placed pressure on limited pasture and water resources – already strained by high population growth – thereby increasing the risk of conflict with host communities. If the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in Mali, the number of refugees could increase significantly.

Grain prices in the country have increased by up to 70 percent in September 2012, compared to the year before. Years of insufficient production, high food prices and continued food insecurity have led to high levels of acute and chronic malnutrition. About 450 430 children under five are at risk of global acute malnutrition, including 100 000 who already suffer from severe acute malnutrition.

FAO response

Within the 2013 Appeal, FAO seeks to improve the food security of the most vulnerable pastoral, agropastoral and farming households in Burkina Faso. With much-needed support to strengthen livelihoods, these families will have the means to increase their access to food, nutritional status and income.

The most vulnerable livestock owners – including refugees and host communities – will be provided with livestock (such as sheep and goats) to rebuild their herds, chickens, animal feed and veterinary supplies to increase productivity. Where necessary, destocking will provide meat and income to families with extremely weak animals. FAO will also distribute fodder seeds to increase the production and availability of feed for livestock. All of these activities will be accompanied by training to improve livelihood practices, including herd management and fodder conservation.

Vulnerable farmers will receive farming kits – composed of vegetable seeds, fertilizers, phytosanitary products, community sprayers and watering cans – to increase vegetable production. This will provide families with an effective means to cope with food shortages, particularly during the lean season. Nutrition education sessions will increase vegetable consumption and boost nutrition levels, particularly among children. In addition, FAO will facilitate the construction of wells and rainwater retention basins to increase the availability of water for crop and livestock production in the Sahelian region of Burkina Faso.

Legend: FAO funding requests for Burkina Faso from 2009 to 2013

FAO is leading the Agriculture Cluster with the aim to improve coordination among key stakeholders. FAO will organize regular coordination meetings, support the development of reference material and implement a food basket monitoring system. Cluster efforts will also promote information sharing and training to build the capacity of partners in order to minimize the time between the outbreak of crisis and response.