Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (test)

Plant breeding programs in Burkina Faso

Geographical Situation of Burkina FasoBurkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa. Its economy is largely agricultural; 86% of the population is involved in it and this sector represents 30 to 40% of the GDP. Its climate is tropical, with a very long dry season going from November to May. This is the major constraint of Burkina Faso’s agricultural production, which is essentially rainfed. Predominant crops are cereals (sorghum, millet, maize, rice, fonio), cash crops (cotton, groundnut, cowpea, sugarcane), roots and tubers crops (cassava, sweet potato, yam), fruits and vegetables.

Agricultural research activities began in Burkina Faso in 1959 with rice. Only five institutions at the national level deal with plant breeding and biotechnology; four of them are public. The scientists involved in this work are well-trained thanks to two public universities.

Their main objective is to develop extra early material for agricultural conditions with low rainfall and fertility constraints. Remaining the main staple food crop in Burkina Faso, cereals (mainly maize, sorghum and millet) are considered as priority and have the highest percentage allocation of resources.

Nowadays, the research activities are decreasing due to the lack of funds. Another limiting aspect for the success of the breeding programs is the inadequate number of breeders for each crop. The private institute also complained about the “limited access to international genetic resources” because germplasm with resistance to pests and diseases is usually found in the international gene banks.

Research and education institutes with activities in plant breeding

Public Institutes


Environmental and Agricultural Research Institute - Institut de l’Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles (INERA)
Website available in English

INERA is one of the 4 institutes of the CNRST (Centre National de Recherches Scientifiques et Technologiques) specialized in agriculture, environment and animal sciences. Its mission is the management of agricultural research and the validating of the scientific results. The different research activities are under 4 departments (department of animal production, of crop production, of forestry, Natural resources management). INERA works with several types of crop/crop-group, namely: maize, sorghum, millet, rice, cotton, cowpea, groundnut, sesame, soybean, roots and tubers, grain legumes, vegetables and fruits.


National Centre of Forest Seeds - Centre National des Semences Forestières (CNSF)
Website available in French and English

CNSF is a public institution, under the guidance of the Ministère de l’Environnement et du Cadre de Vie. It was created in 1983 after the drought period in the Sahel. Its main objective is to ensure the supply of good quality forest seed, necessary for the activities of reforestation. It has been engaged in conventional plant breeding since 1984 and in biotechnology activities since 1996.

University of Ouagadougou

University of Ouagadoudou - Université de Ouagadoudou (UO)
Website available in French

UO is a public university established in 1974. The first responsibility of UO is to educate and train students for the application of agricultural sciences. It has been involved in plant breeding starting with the sorghum breeding programme. Currently some research activities are undertaken with students for PhD work; including the breeding of the following crops, okra, tarot, fabirama, cowpea, and rice.

Univ Bobo

Polytechnique University of Bobo Dioulasso – Université Polytechnique de Bobo Dioulasso (UPB)
Website available in French

UPB is a public university established in 1996. Like UO, UPB plays an important role in the national agricultural research system by supplying trained professionals for the research system. The other mandate of this university is to conduct agricultural research in both crop and animal sciences.

Private Institutes


Sugar Cane National Society of Comoé - Société nationale sucrière de la Comoé (SN SOSUCO)
No Website available

Established in 1965, SN SOSUCO is a sugarcane company that operates at Banfora (450 km from the capital Ouagadougou) in the southern part of Burkina Faso. SOSUCO’s research efforts in crop improvement during the period 1985-2005 involved line evaluation. There is currently no biotechnological research activity in SN SOSUCO now; but it is one of the goals.


Information by Drissa Hema (2008) - Information based on the Burkina Faso's full report from the PBBC survey. Last revised 28-08-2009, GIPB