Agriculture and Food Security
Highly variable rainfall and frequent droughts have a negative impact on Burkina Faso’s agricultural harvest, which often causes food shortages across the country. Because Burkina Faso is landlocked, commercial farmers face high costs when trading internationally. USAID is working to transform agricultural production in order to both strengthen the food supply and increase incomes from agricultural activity. This program includes efforts to:
- Expand subsistence farming into larger money-making operations;
- Improve livestock and poultry production;
- Ensure appropriate natural resource management;
- Help producers market their products;
- Expand access to credit; and
- Increase the number of women involved in growing and selling produce.
A related Millennium Challenge Corporation program seeks to strengthen commercial agriculture by building roads to remote areas, strengthening land ownership rights, increasing access to markets and making loans available to farmers. The program also helps farmers with agricultural and irrigation projects.
Literacy levels are very low in Burkina Faso, and primary education still does not reach all children. As part of a Millennium Challenge Corporation project, we are working to increase the number of students in primary school. Although the program will benefit both girls and boys, we make special efforts to address the additional challenges faced by girls.
Despite some progress, the very high level of poverty in Burkina Faso contributes to a dire health situation. Malnutrition and malaria are widespread, and many citizens have little or no access to basic health care or clean drinking water. USAID works to expand access to these basic necessities. We also work with partner countries to invest in health systems and promote innovation.
USAID focuses on improving the health of pregnant women, lactating mothers and young children by providing education and training to women on the following topics:
- Parenting: Mothers are taught how to feed young children and maintain good hygiene.
- Nutrition: We provide training on improving the nutritional quality of a family’s diet.
- Improved cook-stoves: Using improved cook-stoves improves indoor air quality and has a direct impact on the health of those who prepare meals.
To fight malnutrition and support basic education, we provide lunches to students at schools in vulnerable areas.
Malaria, a treatable illness that causes the majority of deaths of children under five, is addressed through the Presidential Malaria Initiative. This program works with the Government of Burkina Faso’s efforts and expands prevention and treatment. These efforts focus on vulnerable groups and help to reduce malaria-related deaths.
Working in Crises and Conflict
In March 2012, a disaster was declared in Burkina Faso due to high levels of food insecurity – meaning that many people do not have access to enough of the food they need for basic nutrition. The factors that contributed to this situation include unreliable rainfall, dry spells and rising food prices. A growing number of refugees from Mali have also strained the available food supply.
Programs to improve food security among vulnerable households were already in place, but since the disaster declaration, USAID has increased its nutrition programs in the affected areas. To fight malnutrition in the short-term, we give money to those who cannot afford to buy food during the lean season. To strengthen households’ long-term ability to meet their basic needs, USAID creates community savings and lending groups to help people start their own income-generating activities. Another effort gives farmers access to better seeds that will produce stronger crops, increasing the food supply.
USAID is working to address the drivers of violent extremism with programs in Burkina Faso and other countries. We help governments and local partners undermine extremist messages and create partnerships with populations that might be vulnerable to extremist influence. With a special emphasis on young people, this program creates economic opportunities and increases legitimate civic and political participation through the following activities:
- Developing legal economic opportunities;
- Supporting moderate media messages;
- Engaging marginalized communities;
- Conducting peace-building efforts; and
- Supporting good governance.
Last updated: May 10, 2013