Modernization and Training Benefits Butchers in Gorom-Gorom, Burkina Faso

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Monday, May 24, 2021
Sign detailing USAID/OTI's butcher shop rehabilitation efforts in Gorom-Gorom, Burkina Faso.
USAID/OTI/BFRP

Helping Butchers in Gorom-Gorom Stay a Cut Above

"Thanks to the meat storage and conservation equipment, I can make XOF 12,000 (approximately $23) of profit per day."
- Omar, a butcher in Gorom-Gorom, Burkina Faso

Gorom-Gorom is the capital of Oudalan Province and the most populous city in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, with more than 150,000 inhabitants. The city has a large animal husbandry market that serves much of the Sahel region, as well as neighboring Niger and Mali. Traditionally, markets such as these serve as important sources of income generation in Gorom-Gorom. However, due to increased insecurity as a result of violent extremist organization (VEO) presence in the area beginning in 2018, butchers have been unable to attend nearby markets to buy animals or sell their meat. Likewise, buyers from other places are unable to travel to Gorom-Gorom to buy meat. Many local butchers also lack knowledge on proper management and meat storage, which makes it difficult for them to satisfy customers regarding food safety and food processing standards. Therefore, despite strong local demand many butchers are unable to meet the needs of their customers, leading to income disruption. The disruption of this important source of income, and the lack of other viable economic alternatives, has increased local vulnerability and feelings of abandonment by authorities in Gorom-Gorom, creating conditions that could be exploited by VEOs through financial incentives.

In 2020, USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives’ (OTI) Burkina Faso Regional Program (BFRP) began work to address this problem and supported the Gorom-Gorom Butchers' Association to rehabilitate the local butcher's shop and equip it with modern meat storage and conservation equipment, including freezers powered by solar energy. As part of this support, BFRP and the Butchers’ Association trained 40 butchers on healthy meat preparation techniques, quality standards, and facilities and equipment management and maintenance. These trainings took place during the afternoons so that the butchers could work in the mornings, ensuring they could fully concentrate during the trainings. Participants reported that the activity helped them better understand the standards associated with meat production, processing, and marketing.

Butchers in Gorom-Gorom also indicated that the rehabilitation improved perceptions of local butcher shops and their image, in terms of meeting hygiene and sanitation standards. This helped the shops begin attracting new customers who used to travel to Dori and Ouagadougou to buy meat instead.

"The caterer of a big mining company located in the Oudalan Province visited the butchery and subsequently placed a significant order because he was impressed by the positive changes, [which] now meet their quality standards," affirmed Ali, a butcher.

With this growing consumer demand, butchers have reported a significant increase in daily income.

"Since the butcher shop was rehabilitated and equipped with freezers, I managed to store the unsold meat properly, which helped me increase my income by more than XOF 5,000 per day. Before, I could have around XOF 7,000 of profit per day, and now thanks to the meat storage and conservation equipment, I can make XOF 12,000 of profit per day,” said Omar, another local butcher. 

Testimonials from Omar and others reveal the immediate impact of the Butchers’ Association and BFRP’s rehabilitation and training efforts as better meat hygiene and food processing standards start increasing butchers’ incomes in Gorom-Gorom. These income increases in turn leave the butchers feeling less frustrated and abandoned by the state, and relatedly, less vulnerable to VEO recruitment.  

Last updated: May 24, 2021

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