Food Security Outlook Update

Normal food access for very poor and poor households

May 2013

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • At least 80 percent of households are consuming a normal number of meals per day due to the good management of food stocks from recent harvests. As a result, households are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.

  • Food access is relatively favorable due to good market supply levels and generally stable cereal prices since January at levels similar to or no more than 25 percent above the five-year average.

  • The earlier than normal start of rains in mid-April has helped spur the growth of fresh pasture and improve the physical condition of livestock. It has also encouraged traders, who are worried about a slowdown in sales, to offload their grains and animal feed (agro-industrial byproducts) onto the market. 

Current Situation

  • The overall food security situation for very poor and poor households is satisfactory, sustained primarily by cereal stocks from last year's harvests in November, which were 40 to 60 percent above average.
  • There is also good food availability on markets across the country. This is due to the fact that with the earlier than normal start the rains, traders are afraid to hold onto their inventories as they are concerned that a massive increase in supply in May/June might make it difficult for them to sell their stocks then. Meanwhile, trade flows from assembly points in central Burkina Faso and major crop-producing areas of the country towards structurally deficit areas (livelihood zones 7 and 8) are occurring normally.
  • In general, grain prices have been stable since January. Prices at markets in both areas of concern (livelihood zones 7 and 8 in the Sahelian region) are hovering around the national average although they are generally between seven and 25 percent above the five-year average.
  • Small ruminant prices on livestock markets are either stable or up by less than 26 percent compared to last year. Compared to the five-year average, small ruminant prices are also up by anywhere from five to 22 percent. Consequently, terms of trade are in favor of pastoralists. For example, a Sahelian male goat is selling for the equivalent of 110 to 140 kg of millet or sorghum on the Gorom-Gorom and Dori livestock markets.
  • Household livelihood strategies in both areas of concern include livestock and/or animal products sales, as well as gold washing activities. At this time of the year, milk availability is limited. At the same time, there is growing milk demand in the Sahelian region due to the presence of a large Malian refugee population for whom milk is an important dietary staple. As a result, milk prices are high with producers receiving as much as 500 FCFA/liter, which compares to 300 FCFA during a normal year. Able-bodied male laborers, as well as women, are engaged in gold washing activities which are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to seasonal migration. However, the falling price of gold on international markets has caused gold prices on-site to decline by 20 to 26 percent compared to last year. For example, a gram of gold is currently selling for 20,000 FCFA, which compares to 25,000 to 27,000 FCFA last year. However as a whole, non-farm income levels are still at near-normal levels.
  • Ongoing assistance programs, conducted as part of the government’s operational resilience-building and assistance plan for at-risk populations, are focused mainly on: 1) the prevention or treatment of malnutrition and 2) livelihood assistance for households affected by last year’s food difficulties. All 49,975 Malian refugees in Burkina Faso (including the approximate 88 percent concentrated in livelihood zones 7 and 8) are being supported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its partners. A joint assessment (UNHCR, WFP, CRS) is underway to redefine the most appropriate form of food assistance for this group of refugees.

Updated Assumptions

The current situation has not affected the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the period of April to September 2013. A full discussion of the scenario is available in the Food Security Outlook for April through September 2013.

Projected Outlook through September 2013

  • Households will have normal food access between now and the end of June, sustained primarily by household food stocks. During this period, at least 80 percent of households will continue to experience only Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity.
  • As in a normal year, the depletion of household food stocks by the beginning of July will make households market-dependent. However this year, these market-dependant households will also face high cereal prices. Though livestock prices will also above the five-year average, terms of trade could still deteriorate by as much as 10 to 20 percent compared to normal.  As a result, an estimated 25 to 30 percent of very poor and poor households in both areas of concern (livelihood zones 7 and 8) will be unable to make certain essential nonfood expenses without resorting to irreversible coping strategies between July and September. As a result, these households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 28 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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