burkinafasoBurkina Faso (formally Upper Volta) declared independence from France on August 5, 1960. Repeated military coups during the 1970s and 1980s were followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s during which the current president Blaise Compaore was elected (CIA, 2012).  The country is located in West Africa and bordered on the North and West by Mali, on the East by Niger and on the south by Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin. Burkina Faso is a poor, landlocked country that relies heavily on cotton and gold exports for revenue. With a land area of 274, 200 km2, the population of Burkina Faso is estimated at 16.7 million people in 2012.

Context

About 90% of the population live in rural area and is engaged in subsistence agriculture on small family plots or land. Maize, sorghum and millet make up 85-90 percent of the staple diet in Burkina Faso, and cotton is the main cash crop. Agriculture accounts for 34.1 percent of the GDP, and the economy has heavily relied on Gold that has become the main source of revenue since 2010 (CIA, 2012). Burkina Faso's high population density and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens.  In addition, the poverty of the soil and erratic rainfall constrain households in many parts of the country to earn part of their living off the farm. Migration has been one of the solutions to these problems since the colonial era. 

Statistical Indicators                                                                                               

Burkina Faso                                                                                                             Year

Agricultural land (sq km)

123,600

2008

Agricultural land (% of land area)

45.2

2008

Arable land (hectares)

6,300,000

2008

Arable land (% of land area)

23.03

2008

Arable land (hectares per person)

0.41

2008

Fertilizer consumption (per ha of arable land)

4

2008

Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)

-

2009

Food production index (1999-2001 = 100)

136

2009

Food exports (% of merchandise exports)

26.8

2009

Food imports (% of merchandise imports)

15.7

2009

GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)

510

2009

Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above)*

28.7

2007

Literacy rate, youth female (% of females ages 15-24)

33.1

2007

Ratio of young literate females to males (% ages 15-24)

71

2007

Ratio of female to male secondary enrollment (%)

74

2009

Mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people)

10.9

2007

 

16.8

2008

 

20.9

2009

Internet users (per 100 people)

0.7

2007

 

0.9

2008

 

1.1

2009

Population, total

15,756,927

2009

Population density (people per sq. km of land area)

57.6

200

Rural population

12,608,693

2009

Rural population (% of total population)

80

2009

Agricultural population* 

14,028

2008

Agricultural population (% of total population)*

92

2008

Total economically active population in Agriculture*

6,351,000

2008

Total economically active population in Agriculture (in % of total economically active population)*

92

2008

Female economically active population in Agriculture (% of total active in agriculture)*

48

2008

Source: The World Bank, *Food and Agriculture Organization FAO

Acknowledgments

Persons responsible for this report: Andre M. Nnoung, Burt E. Swanson and Andrea B. Bohn 

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