Burkina Faso: Resilience Grows As WFP Helps Small Farmers Grow More
Two farmers in Bagaré stand with the rice they have grown with the help of a Cash for Assetsproject run by WFP to support the rehabilitation of lowland areas in rural Burkina Faso. Cash for Assets projects assist participants as they work on community projects.
At one Cash for Assets activity, participants practice a method known as the half-moon technique to increase yields by digging crescents in the ground that retain moisture and prevent soil erosion.
Following good rains, sorghum flourishes on land where Cash for Assets participants constructed half-moons.
Two Cash for Asseets participants hold up an activity sheet outlining their project sites in Burkina's North region. Eight participants - five women and three men - constructed half-moons across 10 hectares of sorghum.
The efficacy of the half-moon technique is evident in the fields. Sorghum grown on a half-moon field is shown to have thicker stems, greener leaves and larger ears of grain.
A sorghum field which has been sown using traditional techniques rather than half-moons yields thinner stems and smaller ears of grain.
WFP Cash for Assets activities include rehabilitating lowlands through the construction of small earthen walls that retain water and allow rice to grow more effectively. Deputy Regional director Felix Gomez examines harvested rice alongside participants and WFP staff.
After the rainy season, rice grows well on rehabilitated lowlands. According to Issaka Kiendrebeogo, facilitator with WFP's implementing partner Protestant Churches Office for Development, fields are expected to yield 3.5 metric tons per hectare, a productive harvest for this first year.
The rice is ready for harvest. One participant of a Cash-for-Assets programme shows off what she has grown. In exchange for work on resilience-building initatives such as the 'half moons' project, participants receive 1,200 CFA (US$ 2.40) a day.
Through Cash for Assets activities, communities also construct and repair roads which are key to connecting villages to markets, towns and basic services. In Korro village, 110 participants repaired seven kilometers of roads like the one above. Transport by car or motorbike along this route was previously impossble in rainy conditions.
As the harvest begins in Burkina Faso, many small farmers are reaping the benefits of work done earlier in the year to improve rice production. New techniques involving 'half moons' dug in the ground are helping farmers grow their crops better.