- The UN food agency has introduced food voucher programme in Burkina Faso targeting 120,000 highly affected by the soaring food prices. The programme which is the first in Africa will target people in the urban areas of Ouagadougou.
According to World Food Program statement, the food is available, but is not accessible to majority of poor Burkinabes in the city where basic staple food has risen by more than 25 percent in the past year.
WFP Country Director in Burkina Faso Annalisa Conte said the vouchers are an innovative solution to hunger needs among people who live in a city where shops and market stalls may be full of produce, but prices are still too high for the poor and the vulnerable. "Sometimes it makes more sense to give people vouchers than bags of food," she said.
Under the new programme, family members will be given a voucher worth 1,500 francs CFA, or about $3, which they can use in shops that have signed a contract with WFP. In exchange for the voucher, people will receive maize, cooking oil, sugar, salt and soap. Each family will receive up to six vouchers per month for six months, the agency has said.
The WFP also said distributing vouchers instead of food is the more cost effective way of alleviating hunger as opposed to incurring costs of transportation where urban dwellers are surrounded by markets and stalls.
The agency's communiqué said WFP and its partners will also distribute food vouchers in the city of Bobo-Dioulasso for 60,000 people beginning next month.
During the launch of the voucher operation in Burkina Faso, WFP will also hand out rations of Plumpy Doz, a ready-to-eat and highly nutritious peanut-based paste enriched with nutrients, to families with young children.
Meanwhile, Burkina Faso is also to receive a United States government grant of US$ 480.9 million under the Millennium Challenge Corporation to improve the impoverished country's roads, farm productivity and girls' education.
The grant is aimed at lessening impact of poverty as well as promoting economic growth through specific investments to improve agricultural productivity, land management, and roads infrastructure to get goods to markets.
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