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Country Briefs

  Burkina Faso

Reference Date: 11-October-2022


  1. Below‑average cereal production expected in 2022 due to worsening conflicts

  2. Below-average cereal imports forecast in 2021/22 marketing year

  3. Prices of coarse grains well above year‑earlier levels

  4. Acute food insecurity at unprecedented levels for 3.45 million people in 2022

Below‑average cereal production expected in 2022 due to worsening conflicts

Harvesting of the 2022 main season cereal crops is ongoing and is expected to conclude in December. The rainy season had a timely start in June with average to above‑average rainfall cumulative amounts until September, supporting planting activities and crop development across most of the country. However, worsening armed conflicts in 2022, mostly concentrated in northern and eastern parts of the country, have hampered agricultural activities and caused large population displacements, limiting the extent of planted area to cereal crops. Remote sensing data indicates pockets of below‑average vegetation conditions in Central‑East and East regions, mostly due to restricted farmers’ access to the fields. In addition, availability of fertilizers during the early stages of the cropping season was extremely low in the country, according to a recent subregional assessment conducted by FAO, the World Food Programme (WFP), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS). Reduced availability, high prices and low subsidized volumes of fertilizers led to severe access constraints, curbing yield expectations.

Despite general conducive weather conditions, the national cereal production in 2022 is preliminarily forecast at 4.3 million tonnes, about 10 percent below the 2021 near‑average level, reflecting the adverse effects of conflicts on cropping activities and low application of fertilizers.

Below-average cereal imports forecast in 2021/22 marketing year

The country relies on cereal imports to cover its consumption needs. In the previous five years cereal imports, mostly rice and wheat, were estimated on average at 700 000 tonnes. In the 2021/22 marketing year (November/October), cereal imports are forecast at about 525 000 tonnes, near the previous year’s level and 25 percent below the the five‑year average. The decline in imports mostly reflects conflict-related disruptions, political instability in the subregion and the introduction of cereal export bans in neighbouring countries, particularly Mali.

Prices of coarse grains well above year‑earlier levels

Prices of sorghum levelled off in August and September after nine consecutive months of steady gains, while prices of millet continued on an upward trend. As of September 2022, prices of sorghum and millet were 80 and 100 percent, respectively, higher than one year before, reflecting tight market availabilities due to the severe deterioration of security conditions in the conflict‑affected areas. Strong import demand in neighbouring countries also supported the year‑on‑year increase of cereal prices. In order to contain the upward price movements, an export ban on grains and millet, maize and sorghum flours has been in place since 2021 ( FPMA Food Policies ).

Acute food insecurity at unprecedented levels for 3.45 million people in 2022

According to the March 2022 Cadre Harmonisé (CH) analysis, about 3.45 million people were estimated to face acute food insecurity (CH Phase 3 [Crisis] and above) and in need of humanitarian assistance during the June to August 2022 period, including 628 000 people in CH Phase 4 (Emergency). This is the highest number on record since the first CH analysis conducted in 2014 and well above the 2.86 million people estimated to be acute food insecure during the same period in 2021.

The high prevalence of acute food insecurity in 2022 mainly reflects the high food prices, low availability of cereals and worsening conflicts, mainly in Centre‑Nord, Nord, Sahel and Est regions, which have resulted in high levels of displacement. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of August 2022, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) was estimated at about 1.5 million. The mayority of IDPs is concentrated in the regions of Centre‑Nord and Sahel, where about 29 000 refugees, mostly from Mali, sought shelter.

High levels of acute food insecurity are expected to persist in the second half of 2022. Food availability and access are likely to remain limited by below‑average cereal production in 2022, conflict‑related market disruptions and high food prices, exacerbated by the unfolding effects of the war in Ukraine on international trade and commodity prices. New CH estimates of the number of people facing acute food insecurity in the last quarter of 2022 are expected to be released in November by CILSS.

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