- Signs of early rainfall in Burkina Faso provides for extra optimism in the Sahelian country, where the food situation for most of the population already is said to be "good". Analysts therefore conclude the country's food situation for the period from April through October this year "could be reasonably close to normal."
Residents of those few area of food deficit in the North and in the Sahelian zone of Burkina Faso are reported to be "getting help through food aid programs that regulate prices and effectively strengthen distribution channels from areas with good grain availability," according to the US agency Famine Early Warning Systems (FEWS).
- Yields from both cultivated and wild fruits are improving the quantity and quality of food intake for many households, the agency says in its newly released Burkina Faso update. Food supplies on markets and in grain banks around the country are reported to be ample.
In the wake of the crisis in neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire and the rainfall deficit, April 2003 has been different from other years. "In fact, the disruption in livestock exports and emigration to Côte d'Ivoire and the decline in the capacity of reservoirs, particularly in the North, that have limited dry-season activities, have minimised the effectiveness of household coping strategies," FEWS comments.
Everyone is hoping for this year's rainy season to get underway as soon as possible and to be better than the last. Looking at the current climatic conditions, the agricultural year has started well.
Most of the country was affected by rainstorm activity producing measurable rainfall, particularly in western Burkina Faso. As these monsoon conditions continue, farmers are now engaged in preparing their fields and clearing their land for the planting of new crops. There is also already reported new growth on pasture lands.
FEWS therefore concludes that the food outlook between now and the beginning of the lean period is good. In addition to the positive climatic factors, harvests of off-season crops are reported to be in, and sizeable volumes of aid have been pledged under cooperation programs.
- However, unknown variables such as the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire and extent of grain exports could throw off current forecasts, FEWS warns.
Trading between the two countries is however gradually picking up. In fact, markets in Côte d'Ivoire have ample supplies of imported livestock from Burkina Faso, and authorities have announced their intention of resuming rail service in the very near future which, from both a historical and economic perspective, is the most important link and the major mode of transport between the two countries.
However, there is still a stream of Burkinabe immigrants returning home to their native villages from Côte d'Ivoire. A number of refugee villages have been established, which suggests that some or part of these households are planning to settle in permanently, "the direct effect of which will be an increase in food needs," FEWS warns.
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