World Bank program aims to strengthen Burkina Faso's agricultural sector

To ease the strain on Burkina Faso, officials recently urged its food producers to take advantage of the World Bank’s Agricultural Productivity and Food Security Project, a matching grant program geared toward small farm owners.

The match from farmers can be made through land preparation and other community services. The World Bank is encouraging women in particular to make use of the program.

“In our culture, it is difficult for women to possess land," said Alizèta Kabore, who owns a small farm on Burkina Faso's Central Plateau. "Thanks to the project, I now have my own plot of land from which last year I produced four bags of paddy rice. I distributed one bag to my neighbors, I sold the second bag to pay the school fees of my children, and the other two bags are to feed my family and contribute our share to the community savings to purchase inputs for the next planting season.”

The program has also educated Burkina Faso's farmers on artificial insemination in an effort to help increase reproduction rates for cattle as well as facilitated poultry vaccination.

The program is important because Burkina Faso's rural farmers have historically had a difficult time obtaining credit.

“Under the project, a farmer will generally deliver his or her harvest to a local warehouse, whose access is held jointly by a microfinance institution and a farmer’s association, usually in the form of two pad locks," Elisée Ouedraogo, senior agricultural economist for the World Bank Office in Burkina Faso, said. "Upon delivery of the harvest, the farmer receives credit which he or she uses to buy essential inputs for the next planting season, pay children’s school fees, or invest in other revenue generating activities.”

The Agricultural Productivity and Food Security Project will end in 2018, when officials hope the nation's agriculture sector is more solid and the nation's economy as a whole is stronger.

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