Assessing local food systems’ resilience in conflict affected areas - Results from a pilot study in the Yagha Province in Burkina Faso, September 2022


 ReliefWeb Analysis 


Background and objectives of the study

Armed conflicts and the violence they cause are among the major shocks which disrupt local food systems in most low- and middle-income countries. This generally results in physical and economic disruptions of the food supply operations -leading to food shortages, food losses, high and volatile food prices both in rural and urban areas, that may have short-term and long-term implications for both chronic and acute hunger and malnutrition. In addition, armed conflicts can severely affect the activities and livelihoods of the main actors of the local food system including food producers, processors transporters and retailers, leading a significant decline in incomes.

In 2021, three institutions, French agricultural research and international cooperation organization (CIRAD), The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the United Nations World Food Programme Country the Burkina Faso Office (WFP) in Burkina Faso established an international collaboration with the ambition to better document the effects of conflict-related shocks on the functioning of local food systems.
More specifically the objectives of the collaboration were to:

  • Analyze how food systems’ activities are disrupted by the conflicts

  • Identify which actors in the system are the most affected

  • Document the strategies put in place by these actors to ‘buffer’ the impact of the disruptions induced by the conflict

  • Identify positive deviants and determine whether those positive deviants differ substantially by their behaviors and response strategies from the other actors Propose lessons on the resilience of food systems in the context of armed conflict

In parallel to these main objectives, the ambition was to demonstrate that key information about the status, processes and dynamics at work in those local food systems could be captured through ‘light’ questionnaires; that those questionnaires could be implemented despite the difficulty to operate in those highly insecure, rapidly changing conflict zones; and that the information provided could be useful in complementing the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Tables that are used in routine by governments and international humanitarian agencies to monitor changes in food security in conflicts-affected areas.

To deliver those different objectives, empirical data were collected as part of a pilot study conducted in one of the provinces currently severely affected by armed attacks (the Yagha Province). This report summarizes the main results of this pilot study.