Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa covering about 274,000 km2. The country's economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, which accounts for nearly a third of the gross domestic product (GDP). The majority of the population live in rural areas where they practice subsistence farming using rudimentary agricultural techniques.

The major cash crops are cotton, groundnuts, cowpeas and sesame. However, crop production is more diversified in the Sudanian zone in the southwest, with a variety of roots and tubers (yams, sweet potatoes, and cocoyam’s), fruits (mangoes, bananas, and citrus fruits), cashews and sugarcane being produced.

The climate of this Sahel country is characterized by high variability of rainfall, making life difficult for the majority of farmers, as there is little access to irrigated water supplies. Compounding this problem, climate change is leading to higher temperatures, an increase in the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events and a decline in rainfall generally. The sectors most vulnerable to climate change are water, agriculture and forests.

Without proper management, climate change could strike a blow against both food security and the national economy. It is in this context that the government of Burkina Faso has initiated a series of actions including national climate change adaptation plans.

Key initiatives in Burkina Faso

CCAFS has initiated several projects in Burkina Faso to promote food security under a changing climate. These projects include the establishment of a climate-smart village in Tougou in the Yatenga region. In Tougou, farmers, researchers and local partners test portfolios of climate-smart technologies and practices. Read more: Developing Climate-Smart Village models in West Africa.

Another key activity has been the national science-policy dialogue platform: a network of national stakeholders, including scientists and policy makers, who regularly exchange knowledge on adaptation to climate change.

Burkina Faso is also a member of the Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance launched in June 2015, in Mali. This alliance, in partnership with both Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) and CCAFS, aims to increase farm productivity and incomes sustainably and equitably, to enhance adaptation and resilience to climate variability and change, and to control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions wherever possible and appropriate, at a regional level.