Burkina Faso

GIEWS Country Brief: Burkina Faso 10-January-2012

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  • Coarse grains production is estimated to decline by 17 percent in 2011

  • Coarse grains prices recorded sharp unseasonal increases during December, reflecting the reduced production

  • Assistance is needed for large segments of the population, especially in the northern provinces

Coarse grains production reduced by irregular and insufficient rains

Harvesting of the 2011 cereal crops was completed in December. A late onset and an irregular distribution of rains throughout the growing period, coupled with an early cessation in some areas, damaged crops, reduced coarse grains yields and production and delayed harvests in several parts of the northern regions (Nord, Sahel, Centre-Nord) but also in the centre and in the east of the country (Centre-Ouest and Centre-Est regions). Moreover, the dry conditions caused pasture and fodder deficits and lowered water points level in the pastoral and agropastoral areas in the north of the country.

A joint CILSS/FAO/FewsNet/WFP crop assessment mission, which visited the country in October 2011, estimated the aggregate coarse grains output at around 3.5 million tonnes, which is 16 percent lower than last year and 4 percent below the five year average.

Production of millet and sorghum, the main staple cereals in the country, is estimated to decrease by 21 and 18 percent compared to last year, respectively. Reduced supplies supported unseasonal price increases in December

Coarse grains prices followed a similar trend in all monitored markets. They increased from their low levels from July/August onwards, supported by poor crop prospects, levelled off or slightly decreased in November with the new supplies from the 2011 harvest entering markets, and resumed their upward trend unseasonably increasing in December as a result of this year’s reduced output. For example, millet and sorghum prices in the capital Ouagadougou increased between November and December by 38 and 13 percent, respectively and they are currently 63 and 57 percent higher than in December 2010. Similarly, in Bobo Dioulasso, the second largest city in the country, prices of millet increased between November and December by 33 percent and are 60 percent higher than in the same month last year.

By contrast, prices of imported rice, mainly consumed in urban centres, are stable at around the same levels of December 2010 in most markets, including Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso. Food and agricultural assistance is needed

An early start of the lean season and high cereal prices, caused by the poor 2011 cereal production, may lead to severe food insecurity in the coming months in several parts of the country.

About 41 percent of the country’s communes, mainly in the north-eastern provinces, have been classified “at risk” of food insecurity by the country’s early warning system (CPSA Comité de Prévision de la Situation Alimentaire et Nutritionnelle) as of early November.

Subsidized sales by the government and targeted free distribution by development partners have started in affected areas. In addition, the CPSA recommends specific measures such as the distribution of high yielding seed varieties and other inputs to producers in order to boost the output of the off season crop, usually harvested in March.