Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa, struggles with conflict-induced household displacement. This poses significant challenges to crop production and harvests, resulting in issues of hunger in Burkina Faso. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that in 2022, more than 90% of the surveyed households were involved in crop production. According to the same report, many of the surveyed households experienced several conflict-related challenges.
In 2022, the FAO conducted the DIEM (Data in Emergencies Monitoring) assessment, surveying more than 5,000 households throughout Burkina Faso. The survey asked households whether they had experienced any of several shocks as early as three months prior to August 2022. Among the surveyed households, 70% reported experiencing one or more shocks in that timeframe. Sickness or death of a household member accounted for 46% of the reported shocks, while higher food prices accounted for 31%. In the Sahel region, 55% of those surveyed reported an increase in food prices.
On top of the widespread increase in food prices, 50% of households throughout the country reported experiencing a decrease in primary income. Apart from increasing food prices, up to 81% of respondents in the Sahel region reported experiencing a decrease in primary income.
The FAO reports that Burkina Faso’s inflation rate reached as high as 18% between July and August 2022, further contributing to the hunger problem. Repeated instances of conflict in the Sahel and Centre-North regions have led to significant population displacement in those areas. Among the survey respondents, more than 70% reported crop production difficulties. Nearly 40% of crop producers reported insufficient access to irrigated water, and 59% reported insufficient access to fertilizers. Of the households that participated in the FAO survey, 96% reported a need for food production assistance in the following six months. Among them, more than 60% reported needing food assistance.
Reports from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) suggest that around 40% of Burkina Faso’s population lives below the poverty line, and up to 20% of the population is classified as food insecure.
Actions Toward Change
There are ongoing efforts aimed at decreasing hunger in Burkina Faso and alleviating its short-term and long-term effects. The Food Agriculture Organization (FAO), along with other humanitarian organizations such as the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), are working hard to combat these issues. At the annual meeting of the Network for the Prevention of Food Crisis in West Africa, the UNICEF, FAO and WFP issued a joint statement calling on other governments to increase their investments in support of Burkina Faso and other struggling neighboring countries by strengthening their food security and nutrition programs.
The FAO has reached more than 600,000 people in Burkina Faso, assisting them with food production. Additionally, the FAO provides cash-based transfers and complementary services to more than 400,000 people.
In 2021, USAID provided almost $12 million in funding to support agricultural production, food security and vulnerable communities in Burkina Faso. The organization also helps farmers by increasing their access to water for agricultural purposes and mitigating the effects of climate-related shocks on their livelihoods.
Several organizations are working tirelessly to combat the rising levels of hunger in Burkina Faso despite the challenges posed by rising inflation rates, intense conflict in the northern regions, decreasing primary income and insufficient livelihood protection. One of the main goals is to ensure that more citizens can get access to food.
– Christopher Dickinson