Burkina Faso integrated case study


The majority of the population in Burkina Faso is small-scale farmers rely on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihoods. However, the average rainfall between 400 to 1000 mm per year is very variable over time and space and this makes rain-fed agriculture a risky enterprise. In addition, about 30% of the rainfall is lost in soil surface runoff reducing the availability of water to crops. Soils have also very low fertility thus limiting nutrient availability to crops. Crop failure is the consequence of low rainfall but also the effect of soil degradation caused by inappropriate management practices. Food security is under threat due to the low water availability,increasing soil degradation and scarcity of cultivable lands. To mitigate the negative effects of these constraints,water and nutrients management technologies (WNMTs) have been developed on station and on-farm (e.g.,Fosu et al 2008, Ouattarra et al 2006, 2007, Sawadogo-Kabore et al 2008, Zougmoré et al 2000). Research in last decades has put efforts into the development of WHTs (e.g. the Zai system, stone bounds and ridges) in the drier areas of Burkina Faso. However, results have clearly demonstrated that high yields can be obtained through the combination of WHTs and integrated nutrient management. Refinement and upscaling of WNMTs are needed to increase crop production and food security at the farmers’ level.

This work package is in line with this theme and will contribute to promote a more integrated natural resource management to balance human and environmental dimension of development in Burkina Faso. Its purpose is to integrate soil, water, and nutrient management techniques into options that enhance agricultural productivity while mitigating environmental challenges. On-farm experiments will be undertaken using a participatory approach, whereas WNMTs will be selected taking into account the country’s climatic zones. One of the key activities, after the rapid assessment by revisits of WHT sites for Work Package 2,will be the on-farm testing and evaluation of WNMTs and WHTs, jointly with farmers’ organizations and in cooperation with NGOs. The on-farm testing will be done in two climatic zones, i.e., the 700-900 mm and the more than 900 mm annual rainfall zones (including Siglé, Sabou Péni and Bobo Dioulasso districts).Small-scale WHTs like the Zai pits and half moons will be tested in the 700-900 mm rainfall zone where degraded soils (zippele) are common and mechanization level is low. In the more than 900 mm rainfall zone,where agricultural mechanization levels are generally high (> 60%), contour ploughing with nutrient management will be investigated. Different types of food and cash crops planted in different cropping systems (e.g.,rotation,association) will be used in combination with WNMTs to determine optimal synergies of WHTs with farming systems. The overall approach will be participatory with strong stakeholders’ interaction. The methodology will be using scenario analyses coupled with global to regional water balance and trade models, in close consultation with project partners and stakeholders to ensure relevance. In particular the outputs will serve for policy and decision support outputs in Work Package 3.


The specific objectives of WP9 are:
• To analyse water and nutrient interactions and derive sustainable water and nutrient management for WHT-based farming systems (in cooperation with Work Packages 4 and 6)
• To conduct participatory on-farm testing of selected and refined WHTs
• To assess the integrated effects of (refined) WHTs on disaster reduction, livelihood improvement and food security (in cooperation with Work Package 5 and 8)
• To contribute to knowledge on the uptake and upscaling of WHTs (in cooperation with Work Package 7)
The overall partnership of the project will allow exchanges in experiences and results analysis for contributing to the main objective of the project regarding the definition of guidelines and criteria for the development of innovative WHTs.


D9.1) Factsheet Burkina Faso: A factsheet will be produced describing the RTD activities on water harvesting technologies and their first results. [month 24]

D9.2) Synthesis report with WHT guidelines: A synthesis report will be written on the impact of (refined) WHTs on water and nutrient management, disaster reduction, livelihood improvement and food security in Burkina Faso. The report includes guidelines and standards for sustainable WHTs. [month 42]

Lead Institution:

Institut de l'Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles (INERA)

WP Leader:

Korodjouma Ouattara
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