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Université catholique de Louvain (2012)

Improving welfare in a West-African contextnonfarm activities, rainfall and poverty in contemporary Burkina Faso

D’haen, Sarah

Titre : Improving welfare in a West-African contextnonfarm activities, rainfall and poverty in contemporary Burkina Faso

Auteur : D’haen, Sarah

Université de soutenance : Université catholique de Louvain

Grade : Doctorat en sciences (sciences géographiques) 2012

Résumé
In Burkina Faso, nonfarm activities are thought to help poor households buffer for agricultural risks related to climate variability by providing them with cash to buy food in case of local harvest shortfalls. In a time when climate change is expected to have considerable impact on the West-African Sahel, governments here have an incentive to stimulate national nonfarm economies. This incentive is very tangible in contemporary Burkina Faso, where a large proportion of the population has to buy their staple foods but where during the 1990s and the early 2000s, fourteen percent of the population suffered from permanent undernourishment ; in 2006 still 9 percent did. Most of the affected population lives in rural areas and development of the rural nonfarm economy has been one of the main pillars under Burkina Faso’s successive National Poverty Reduction Strategies. Much less attention is paid to poverty in urban areas, even though the country is experiencing one of the highest natural urban growth rates in sub-Sahara Africa. Very little is also known about the effects of short-term rainfall events on urban livelihoods in Burkina Faso. Using three cross-sectional surveys, this PhD explores the interconnection between the nonfarm economy, poverty and rainfall in Burkina Faso between 2003 and 2007. Results show that despite a beneficial effect of the rural nonfarm economy on household welfare, contemporary Burkinabe households are very vulnerable to low rainfall : Adverse rainfall conditions in the southern agricultural production zone of the country presumably cause food prices to rise, and Burkinabe households are unable to cope with these. Urban households are also shown to be vulnerable for high food prices. Households in Burkina Faso rationally choose to optimise their livelihood and to allocate labour to those activities that guarantee the best return on their human resources in the environment they live in. Nonfarm activities play a crucial role in this respect. However, if the nonfarm economy is to contribute to a higher resilience of especially the rural population to processes, dynamics and events influencing food prices and therefore poverty (globalization, climate, etc.), policy has to act simultaneously on the multiple barriers to this economy for poor households.

Mots clés : Rainfall | Nonfarm activities | Food security | Poverty measurements | Burkina Faso | Sub-Sahara Africa

Présentation

Page publiée le 8 décembre 2014, mise à jour le 24 novembre 2018