Burkina Faso’s poorest farmers leading fight against climate change – new report

8 October 2014
Press release
Wednesday 8 October

Burkina Faso’s poorest farmers leading fight against climate change – new report

Burkina Faso’s subsistence farmers are leading the fight against climate change despite getting almost no outside help, reveals a new report from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) – the UK’s leading think-tank on development issues.

The report
A greener Burkina- Sustainable farming techniques, land reclamation and improved livelihoods will be launched in Ouagadougou, on Wednesday 8 October, and reveals that poor farmers on the edge of the Sahel in the Central Plateau have restored up to 300,000 hectares of degraded land by using traditional farming practices. 

These consist of careful land preparation, water conservation and enriching the soil with natural nutrients rather than expensive fertilisers.

These farmers
have managed to provide food for half a million people in the area who otherwise would have likely starved. While they have received some help from international aid agencies and the government, most of the success has been accomplished on their own.

Burkina Faso is experiencing
increasingly unpredictable rainfall and severe droughts as a result of climate change, threatening the lives of millions of people. Decades of over-farming and overgrazing, has also resulted in huge tracts of fertile lands changing into desert, with up to 65% of land degraded in some areas.

Despite the scale of this crisis, international support for the whole of sub-Saharan Africa to adapt to climate change has averaged only $130 million annually, lending weight to what Archbishop Desmond Tutu calls ‘adaptation apartheid’.

The report authors hope that the example of Burkina Faso’s poor farmers in the Sahel region will empower others in the region to confront the effects of climate change, adapting their agriculture methods to offset some of its worst shocks, despite getting almost no outside help.